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Yhtgs me Missionhry 














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' 00032690650 

This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 


The Stoky op Yatfq thi. ^w 
K- Taylor, D. D clot , v/'"'"^^':?^- ^>- <'>^«s. 

Convention, <^ATl{e,?im,l'^ Southern Baptist 
This is (he life of MattliPw r v.* 

t ,.s a most thrilling book, and wherever Srdwii 
be an inspiration and a power It T. o T 

We earnestly honp if «jii i. 



2/ates - the - iT/issionari/ 

Written by Charles E. Taylor. DP. Cloth . 
12mo., pp. 300. Price, $1.00, postpaid. 
Published and for sale by the Sunday School 
Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 
Nashville, Tenn. ♦♦♦♦■» 

A wonderful book. Strikinsily illustrated. Ma^niflcei.t picture of 
Dr. Yates; his private seal on title page; picture of his wife; a 
charming picture of the country home \\here he was brought up ; a 
map of China : a map of Shanghai, drawn by himself: and other 
pictures of interest. 


\y. E. Hatcher : A book whose charm is contagious and resistless. 
A story Avhich opens simply and beautifully, and grows in dignitv. 
seriousness, and power even unto its last page. 


R. Van Deventer : It moved my heart, it thrilled my soul. I could 
not see the lines for tears. I could not keep from 'laughing. The 
book will make missionaries under God. 


./. A. Kesler : His story rises in interest and intensity to the last. 
It is a book of rare power and inspiration. One is moved more than 
he can well account for. A hero's life whose flerv spirit, full of good, 
makes our own. as we read, claim kin with the angels. There are 
but few such lives— few in a century— and the books that preserve 
them are the eternal books. 

f\ ORE/\T TRIO; 


Three Lectures before Southern Baptist Theolog cal Seminary. 
B y Rev. W. R. L. Smith, P.P. Paper, 16mo., pp. 
116. Price, postpaid, 25c. Pu blish ed and fo r 
sale by the Sunday School Board of the Southern 
Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tenn. # # 

"A superb setting forth of three great men. I want a supply on 
hand all the time, so as to put a copy in the hands of voung men. It 
may mark the turning point in their \\\gs."'— Henry SlcDonald. 


NASHVILLE, Tennessee. 

Kev. Matthkw Tvson Yates. D.l)., 

When 66 years old, and when he had been 37 years a missionary in 

China. Height, 6 feet 2 inches : weight, 244 pounds. 





Letters and Reminiscences, 



President Wake Forest Collciife. 



Nashville, Tenn. 


Copyright 1898 

By the Sunday School Board of the 

Southern Baptist Convention. 


The Baptist Churches of the South 

and to their Servants, ■ 

The Boards of the Southern Baptist Convention, 

and to 

Those Laboring in Home and Foreign Fields, 

This story of the life 

Of one of our earliest and ablest Missionaries 

Is affectionately dedicated. 


The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist 
Convention, December 31, 1897, passed a resolution that 

Five hundred dollars be set aside, to be known as the 
Matthew T. Yates Publishing Fund, to be considered 
as a memorial in honor of him, and as a contribution to 
missions; to be used in publishing and putting on the mar- 
ket the life of Dr. Yates, written by Dr. Chas. E. Taylor, 
and that all proceeds from the sale of the book be put to the 
credit of this fund. 

We send this book on its errand of mission work, 
persuaded that the Southern Baptist Convention would 
have it done. It was written for the Foreign Mission 
Board, and is a labor of love. 

The private seal of Dr. Y^ates on the title page was 
reproduced from an old envelope, post-marked Shang- 
hai, China, June i, 188 1, fifteen cents postage, sealed 
with red vvax, and addressed to Rev. J. P. Boyce, D.D., 
Louisville, Ky., U. S. A. 

Dr. R. T. Bryan's account of the Jubilee services held 
at Shanghai, November, 1897, is added as an appendix, 
a fitting crown to the work so beautifully set out in this 

Seldom does a book so sweep heart and mind, its 
reading giving a kind of transfiguration experience. Et 
is thrilling to think how, from its reading, missionaries 
Vvill be born and how the enrichment of thought and 
{"^eling will come both in the home and in the churches. 
We send this book out with the conviction that God set 
before us this open door, and will use the effort for the 
furtherance of his purposes in human redemption. 

Nashville, Tenn., March 3, 1898. 

Table of Contents 


I. A Country Boy 7 

II. A Story of Strtig-g-les 15 

III. What Horse, Saddle, and Bridle Helped to Pay for, 2'.\ 

IV. Bej^-ins in America and Ends in Asia 32 

V. Housekeeping- Under Difficulties 45 

VI. Bad Eyes and Good Ears 54 

VII. At Work (50 

VIII. Reaching Out 09 

IX. A Long-, Steady Pull 77 

X. Rebellion Records 88 

XI. On Guard in One's Own House 03 

XII. Dictionary-Making Under Difficulties 100 

XIII. Almost Superhuman Efforts 107 

XIV. In Which the Hero is Both Wrecked and Starved.. Ill) 
XV. Eighteen Months in the United States 120 

XVI. Supporting a Mission 110 

XVII. I Have Reached the Chinese Heart 15") 

XVIII. A Dumb Preacher 104 

XIX. I Am in Dead Earnest 183 

XX. Better Ore is Struck 1<)4 

XXI. Is Retrospective 203 

XXII. Sacred Strategy 210 

XXIII. Reaching Out Farther 231 

XXIV. A Danger Signal 254 

XXV. Dead on the Field of Battle 27U 


Not long after the death of Dr. Yates, the statement 
was pubHshed that a citizen of Raleigh, N. C, well com- 
petent for the task, had undertaken to prepare a memoir 
of the honored missionary. His professional engage- 
ments, however, became so engrossing that, after the 
lapse of many months, he was compelled to relinquish 
his design. 

The present work has been undertaken as the result 
of a conviction and a hope long entertained by the 
writer. The conviction is that the life and character and 
work of Dr. Yates are worthy of an abiding record. The 
hope is that each reader will be able to get from it some 
such inspiration as young Matthew Yates received from 
the life of Ann Judson. 

As far as possible. Dr. Yates has been allowed to tell 
the story of his own life. In 1880-81 he published in the 
Biblical Recorder (Raleigh, N. C), a series of letters 
entitled, "Reminiscences of a Long Missionary Life." 
These, as well as extracts from his personal and official 
correspondence, constitute the main body of this volume 
and almost warrant for it the title of an autobiography. 
Condensation has in many places been absolutely nec- 
essary. This has sometimes required the recasting of 
sentences in order to preserve the thread of the narra- 
tive. But the writer is certain that no change has been 
made which at all afTects the sense or of which Dr. Yates 
would not have approved. 

When not otherwise indicated, the letters were ad- 
dressed to the Secretaries of the Foreign Mission Board 
in Richmond, Va. The letters 'To the Recorder" were 
published in the Biblical Recorder, Raleigh, N C. 

C. E. Taylor. 

Wake Forest College, April, 1898. 



A COUNTRY BOY 1819-1836 AGE IJ . 

ROM the unpretentious rural homes of North 
Carolina have come forth hundreds of men 
who, in almost every calling, have become emi- 
, nent and useful. In truth, it may be questioned 

wTiether any State of the Union has been the birthplace 
of a larger number of great men: though, to the general 
view, North Carolina's fertility in greatness has been 
obscured by the fact that very many of her bons havrf 
made their careers elsewhere than in the Stare of their 
nativity. Why the State has been so prolific of eminent 
men is not difficult to explain. The conditions of good 
ancestry, simplicity of life, necessity for labor, familiar- 
ity with nature, religious training, and freedom from 
grosser temptations have all been met in thousands of 
her old fashioned country homes. And, for the making 
of the hero of this true story, none of these were lacking. 

The Yates family in this country are descendants of 
two cousins of that name who came from England to 
Virginia in colonial times. The more immediate an- 
cestors of Matthew Yates moved at an early period to 
Wake County, N. C, and settled near its western bound- 
ary. Not very far to the southwest were the homes ir: 
which were reared the older Manlys and Brantlys, the 
Brooks, Emersons, Marshs, and others, whose names 
are familiar in American Baptist history. 

About eighteen miles west of Raleigh, lived and died 
William and Delilah Yates. They reared to maturity 
ten children, five sons and five daughters, all of whom 

8 Yates The Missionary. 

became members of Baptist cbu'xhes. JMattliew Tyson 
Yates, the second of these children, was born January 
8th, 1819. 

WilHam Yates hvcd upon and cultivated his own farm 
of four or live hundred acres. For nearly fifty years he 
was an honored deacon of Mt. Pisgali Church. Prudent, 
♦enterprising, and industrious, he was looked up to by 
his neighbors as one of the best farmers in that section, 
^n his home was neither poverty nor riches. His was 
a life of labor, but it was also a life of independence. For, 
during the earlier years of the century, almost every- 
thing worn or consumed by the farmer's ^amily was 
produced at home. 

It may be doubted whether Yates the uiissionarv 
could have endured and labored as he did for more than 
forty years in China, if Yates the boy had not learned, 
^vhile wielding the axe, holding the plough-handles, and 
caring for the cattle, to labor and endure hardness. In 
this necessary part of the education of a worker or a hero, 
young Matthew passed through an extended curriculum 
Perhaps, as sometimes happens when the young are com- 
pelled to learn to work and to deny themseb-es. there 
were times when h.e repined and envied the idle and 
luxurious. But, as the passing years and wi<ier obser- 
vation taught their lessons as to the value of this train - 
mg, we have his own testimony that he was grateful that 
ihese essential conditions for the making of hi^ manhood 
were imposed upon him. It was good for ^he futur-:: 
missionary that he bore the yoke in his youth. 

And it may well be questioned whether his sturdy 
connnon sense \\oul(l have stood him in such good stead, 
often, too, in difificult situations, had it not been devel- 
oped and improved by his early lessons in nature's great 
kindergarten school. And this simple life in boyhood, 
far from the artificialities of society, but close to nature 
and her ceaseless marvels, doubtless had its share in 
making him the simple hearted, unaffected man who. 
to the last, never lost touch with his childhood. 

We may think of Matthew's boyhood as a happy 

Yates The Missionary. 9 

period. I'lio life of a farmer's lad in the midland counties 
of North Car(^lina was not all labor. The g^ently rolling 
countrN' in which he lived was watered with numerous 
streams; and these, in those days, abounded with fish. 
The woods and fields w^ere full of game. We may be 
1 ure that on many a spring and autumn afternoon thf. 
barefoot boy dreamed his ambitious dreams and weaved 
ins bovish fancies as he watched his cork amid the rip- 
1^1 es and eddies of the brook. With keen zest on early 
winter mornings he visited his rabbit traps uid cam-j 
home not unladen with game. He had, wc may not 
doubt, his own store of walnuts and hickory nuts and 
honeyshucks. He knew the haunts of the wild turkey 
and the ways of the partridge, and where tlic clearest 
pools invited the bather. More than fifty years away 
from his boyhood, he said that his knowledge of the 
Chinese helped him to locate the new chapel in Chin- 
kiang just as his knowledge of the habits of partridges 
had showed him where to set his snares. 

Dr. Yates, in his reminiscences, wrote the following 
account of his first schooling: 

The neighborhood in which we lived was not celebrated for 
its wealth, refinement, or educational facilities. It was, how- 
ever, free from sinks of vice and temptations to the young. 
The schools, in my school-going days, were restricted to what 
were generally known as "')ld field schools;" probably so called 
because the houses in which they were held were generally 
situated in, or near, an "old field." The houses were rude 
.nructures. unhewn log huts, with ^plit-board roofs, and a log 
chimney, seven or eight feet broad at one end of the single 
room, for log fires. At the other end of the room was a wide 
crack, formed by cutting away parts of two logs, to admit light 
upon the "writing bench," and a door on one or both sides. 

The furniture of these school houses consisted of a chair, a 
lock-up desk, a ferule, and a long hickory switch for the teacher, 
and long benches, without backs, for the school children. Tliese 
"old field schools" were generally in session only during the 
autumn and winter months. 

lo Yatks The Missionary. 

All that was taught in any to which I had the privilege of 
going, was spelling in Noah Webster's spelling book, Walker's 
dictionary, reading, writing after a cf>py set by the teacher, and 
Pikes' arithmetic to the doable rule of three. No attempt was 
ever made to teach the meaning of \sords or anything else, ex- 
cept to find the answer to the sum given in the arithmetic, the 
whole work of which, when it had been approved by the teacher, 
the pupil was required to copy in his "ciphering book." 

These opportunities, however meagre, were not with- 
out fruit. If nothing more, he at least learned to read. 
And letters written many years after these earliest school 
da}'s and thousands of miles away from the old log school 
house reveal that he had read with eager avidity all that 
came within his reach during his boyhood and youth. 
]\Iany deficiences in this training were doubtless repaired 
afterwards in Mr. Thompson's Academy. The exam- 
ination of several hundred of his letters, covering more 
than forty years of correspondence, reveals scarcely 
an instance of a misspelt word. The blue-back speller 
had not been studied in vain. 

Dr. Yates' narrative of his early religious experiences 
is unique and of peculiar interest. It is given here as 
he wrote it about 1850: 

My father delighted in keeping an open house for Baptist 
preachers, and, in fact, for preachefi^ and religious men of all 
denominations. Robert T. Daniel was the first preacher 1 
remember, and about all I remember of him is that he had a 
white head and a red face, and that he and my father seemed 
to love each other very much. A few years later I remember 
R. B. C. Howell, "Tom" Armstrong, and John Purefoy. I re- 
member well Father Purefoy's putting his hand on my head 
and saying, "May the Lord make a preacher of him!" This 
blessing made an impression upon my young heart, for his 
manner was kind and his lone of voice serious. 

At some time subsequent to this, he asked me if I ever 
prayed; to which I replied that I did not know how to pray. 
He looked kindly at me, as I held his horse for him to mount, 
and said: "I will tell you, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner.'" 

Yates The Missionary. ii 

This short prayer has remdincd with me from that day to the 
present time. It was the first intimation I ever had that I was 
a sinner. And "Tom" Armstrong's thundering exhortation to 
sinners — in which he was considered to be "very powerful," 
for his voice was Hke the roaring of a lion, kept it before my 
mind by day and by night I thought, however, that he was 
talking to the grown people, for he never talked to me at my 
father's house about my being a sinner. At a subsequent inter- 
view, Father Purefoy asked me, when there was no one else 
present, if I had ever prayed as he taught me. I replied that 
I did not know where to pray. And he said, "Go into the 
woods where none but God can hear you. God is everywhere." 

That was my last interview and conversation with that man 
of God. He has gone to his reward and his works do follow 
him. He was eminently a practical Christian. His labors were 
not confined to the pulpit. I have ever felt that his words to 
me were words spoken in season. I was quite young, but what 
he said gave direction to my whole life. 

I am persuaded that ministers of the gospel, parents, and 
Christians generally do not give sufficient attention to the 
religious training of the children of the congregation, T mean 
personal appeals to them to love and trust the Lord Jesus. 
They usually have a high respect an(', reverence for a minister: 
and, judging by my own experience, a solemn word spoken 
to a child of ten years, when there is no one present to distract 
attention, leaves a lasting impression, an impression that may 
ultimately be blessed to the salvation of the soul. It is what 
we learn in our youth that remains with us through life. Then 
why should not the youthful mind be guarded against the evils 
which beset the paths of the young by a knowledge of God's 
power and love in Jesus Christ? 

When I was about twelve years old, an incident occurred 
which made a deep impression on my mind. The school house 
where I was attending school in, I think, the month of October, 
stood under the shadow of a magnificent white oak, about four 
feet in diameter. The end.', of its limbs were so low that they 
could be reached by the boys and used in a rustic play for 
bases. During recess, while the teacher was absent, and the 

12 Yates The Missionary. 

boys were having a lively play under the spreading limbs of 
this tree, it was struck by 'ightning twice, in as many seconds, 
and shivered into many pieces, even down to the ground. 
Providentially, some one had given a challenge, to which all 
of us, fifteen or twenty boys, responded, and were from ten 
to twenty paces from the tree. Nonr of us were seriously in- 
jured. We were pressed to the ground, as if by a great weight, 
and each boy had, for hours, a deep red spot, as large as a 
dollar, on some part of his body, caused by the electricity. 
The heavens had been overcast all day, but there had been 
neither rain nor thunder. It was regarded as a remarkable 
phenomenon, for we rarely ever had thunder in October. 

This incident, so sudden and unexpected, and so terrific in 
its effect, made me feel that truly God is everywhere, and that 
I was a sinner and must pray. There, for the first time, I 
uttered in spirit the prayer taught me by Father Purefoy, whose 
image has remained photographed on my mind to the present 
time. I that day resolved to follow his advice, and take to 
the woods for prayer. The next morning, when I went into 
a dense forest to find a certain lot of pigs — the daily care of 
which had been committed to me — I sought and found, in a 
thick brush, a large oak that was much inclined toward the 
south, where I would be protected from the rain and snow in 
winter. There I erected my altar of prayer, and there, for 
years, I prayed, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." At night, 
I found a place for prayer nearer lome, where I was able to 
pray unobserved. 

In my prayers I made all sorts of promises, that if God 
would pardon my sins, I would do any and everything in my 
power for his cause. But somehow or other, in my ignorance, 
I got the idea that when I iound peace (got religion), it would 
be at a protracted or camp-meeting; and my prayers were put 
up with reference to meetings appointed to take place several 
months in the future. I attended all such meetings within a 
reasonable distance, hoping to find him of whom i\Ioscs in 
the law and the prophets did write This was the expression 
of many of the preachers of differen' denominations, to whom 
I listened for instruction. I did not have a clear idea of just 

Yates The Missionary. 13 

what it meant. I knew it was he \. horn I was to seek, so I 
secretly read the books of Moses and the prophets; but I 
found that they wrote of so many persons I was unal)le to 
decide of whom they did w'ite in particular. In my bewildered 
state of mind I fell back 'ipon what I thought I knew. "God 
be merciful to me, a sinner, for Jesus sake," and continued to 
make vows. 

This state of things continued for a few years. About this 
time, Rev. P. W. Dowd became the pastor of Mount Pisgah 
Church. He was an eloquent and able preacher, and I loved 
him dearly: but he did not talk to me privately about my state 
of mind. In fact, no one knew it but God, who knoweth all 
hearts. When I was about fifteen, T presented myself at the 
anxious seat for prayer. Father Purefoy, when I was yet 
quite young, had taught mo that I v/as a sinner, and that God. 
who had mercy on sinners, was everywhere present. P. W. 
Dowd, when I was better able to comprehend, taught me that 
God had revealed himself in Jesus Christ as a God of mercy 
and compassion upon all who put their trust in Jesus and 
received him as their Saviour and Lord, i. e., one whose com- 
mands they were ready to obey in all things. This, I trust, 
I was able to do at the camp-meeting at Mount Pisgah Church, 
in 1836. I had looked forward to this meeting as the time 
when I hoped to get rid of my burden, and to be enabled to feel 
that Jesus indeed loved me, and that my sins were pardoned. 
When the meeting had been in session for a week and I heard 
the tent-holders speak of brmging it to a close, a feeling akin 
to despair came over me; for I was not yet saved, and there was 
no other such meeting in prospect. With the feeling that there 
was no mercy for me, I went into the woods, where I could 
hear no noise, prostrated myself, and cried, "O, Lord, help 
me!" I could neither feel nor say anything else. I had 
trusted too much to the help of the preachers. Now I only 
wanted help from the Lord. Whe.i I returned to the tent of 
Henry Williams, I was able to join in singing the praises of 
God and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

At the close of the camp-meeting I and thirteen others pre- 
sented ourselves as candidates for baptism. We were all re- 

14 Yates The Missionary. 

ceived and baptized by Rev. P. W. Dowd, in New Hope creek, 
at Williams' Mill. I had looked foiward with supreme desire 
to the day when I should be permitted to complete my obedience 
to the command and be baptized. I had fondly hoped that 
being buried with Christ in baptism would complete my hap- 
piness; but before I had come out of the waters of New Hope, 
many thoughts as to what I ought to do next came rushing 
through my mind. I had three miles to walk home, and I 
wished to be alone. So I slung my wet clothes on a stick and 
started, without giving notice to any one of my departure. I 
had not gone far before the tempter joined me, and commenced 
the following colloquy: "Well, how do you feel now, that 
you have been baptized? Are you as happy as you thought 
you would be? Don't you think you made a spectacle of your- 
self? You see everyone who passes on horseback looks at you, 
and some even smile at you. I think you have made a fool of 
yourself; for I am sure you are not as happy as you expected 
to be. Now that you have reached the goal of baptism, have 
cut yourself off from the pleasures of the young, and have 
joined the church, what do you intend to do? Of course you 
are too young and inexperienced to make any further exhibition 
of yourself, by attempting anything within the church; for you 
have learned by your baptism that you will not realize all 
that you expect. All you have to do is to go to church once 
a month and do about as you see other people do, i. e., wait 
for the older members to take the lead. You know it is not 
pleasant to be laughed at." 

By this time I was half way home and had become so be- 
wildered that I hardly knew whether I was walking or standing 
still. In this strange state of mind I resolved to go into the 
woods and seek a quiet place for prayer. Satan followed me, 
and whispered, "O, you will be seen here, for there is some 
one passing along the path just in front of you." I turned first 
in one and then in another direction, and behold, some one was 
always in sight. I turned and prostrated myself by the side of 
a fallen tree, and cried, "Lord, help me! Grant me deliverance 
from the power of Satan's sore temptation." 

When I had been praying I knov, not how long, I heard a 

Yates The Missionary. 15 

great noise in the leaves on the other side of the fallen tree, 
like some one approaching me. It became so demonstrative that 
I raised myself to see what it was. And. lo, there was a king 
snake, not more than two and a haU feet long, in deadly con- 
flict with a very large black serpent not less than six feet long. 
The noise was caused by the struggle of the black snake to 
prevent being doubled by his assailant into the form of a rude 
ball. The striped little king snake was entwined in and out 
of this ball, and in this position, by alternate contractions, he 
crushed the bones of his apparently more powerful enemy, and 
then extricated himself and crawled quietly away, leaving the 
black snake dead. I felt that it was good to be there; so I 
again resumed my supplication an'', thanksgiving, and then 
went on my way comforted and rejoicing, feeling that this 
incident taught me that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus, 
was able to conquer even the old serpent himself. And in 
many a conflict since, I have had evidence of his presence to 
protect, comfort, and direct me in the way I should go. 

That day and night I rested in Jesus. In meditating upon 
what I had done, and upon the incident of the day, and realiz- 
ing that Jesus on the cross had vanquished Satan, I had great 
joy. Henceforth the burden of my prayer at the old oak tree 
and elsewhere was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do? Show 
me my duty, and grant me grace and courage to do it." 



HE prevalent type of religion in Baptist churches, 
sixty years ago, was, in some respects, widely 
dififerent from that which prevails n(nv. There 
have been great gains. There have also been 
serious losses. There was then comparatively little 
aggressiveness. But there were deep convictions. More 
stress was laid upon experimental religion. This was 
conceived by many to be possible only to an adult be- 

i6 Yates The Missionary. 

liever. While children were instructed in Bible truth, 
their conversion was usually not expected. The piety 
of those times was tinj^ed witii asceticism. Not only 
dancing, but all games, sports, and amusenicnts were 
frowned upon. The tendency now is to ovcimuch fri- 

The fathers were steadfast in the faith, and laid great 
stress on soundness in doctrine. Their piet\ . however, 
made but slight demands on their time, their purses, or 
their activities. There is now more of knovledge and 
refinement in the pulpit. Then there was more of unction 
and pathos. Stronger emphasis than at present was laid 
on "the live points" of Calvinism. It was freely urged 
that if God called a man to preach, there was no need 
for human interference in interpreting or insisting upon 
the call. Hence little encouragement was given to the 
younger members by the older as to the exerMse of their 
gifts in public. The story of Matthew Yates' expeiiences, 
with modifications, may perhaps be accepted a.s the story 
of the struggles of most of the men who entert i the min- 
istry sixty years ago. 

From the time Father Purefoy blessed me, and told me where 
and how to pray, I always thought that, when I became a man 
and a Christian, I would be a preacher. Now I was filled with 
shame and confusion for having had such thoughts. Notwith- 
standing my shrinking from the responsibihty of so sacred 
a work, all my vows and promises to work for Christ when I 
became a Christian, come home to me. 

At first my prayer was, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!" 
And after I gave myself to the Lord it was. "Lord, what wilt 
thou have me do?" At first he made me feel that I ought to 
talk to my unconverted friends of my own age. This I found 
very hard to do. So I did a little at a time; just a few words, 
words enough to make them thinV: about their souls. The 
devil tried to make me quit that; but after a tussle with him 
I said, "Satan, get thee behind me, I desire none of thy com- 
pany." Then I felt strengthened in heart to do more. And I 
had more courage. 

Yatks The Missionary. 17 

After that, when I was larger, the Lord made me feel that 
I ought to stand up and speak to everybody in the Sabbath 
school. This I thought I could not do; for I was an ignorant 
big boy. and had never spoken in public. But the Lord by 
his Spirit kept at me about it. Then the old oak tree was 
dearer than ever; for I was in trouble about what I ought to 
do. What I ought to do seemed plain as a sunbeam; but how 
could I do it! But the Lord wouKl not let me off. The way 
kept getting clearer and brighter. So I finally agreed that I 
would try. All that week, while 1 was plowing, I was pre- 
paring my speech for the Sabbath school and country people 
for next Sunday. I often, in my abstraction of mind, plowed 
up the corn and cotton that I was siding, and had to stop and 
transplant it; and sometimes I got a scolding for my careless- 

Well, Sunday came, and I weni. to the dear old Mount 
Pisgah Church, rehearsing all the way for two and one-half 
miles. The nearer I got, the more scared and weak-kneed I 
became. Wlien the Sabbath school was over, and the proper 
time came to speak, I could not rise I hesitated and hesitated 
till my father, the only man in church who prayed in public, 
closed tne school; and I went away cast down, with my speech 
undelivered. But I promised the Lord that I would do it the 
next Sunday. Another week of preparation and another Sun- 
day passed as the first, and thus it continued for more than a 
year. I thought, "O, that somebody would ask me to speak 
or lead in prayer!" But at that time they were not a praying 
people. But the Lord would not Ici me go. He followed me 
to the old oak tree, and said, "Fear not the face of man; I am 
with thee." If I had not had a placfi of prayer, I fear I should 
have slipped up, 

I determined to break through this terrible state of mind. 
So I proposed to two young men who had been baptized at 
the same time with myself to join with me in conducting a 
prayer meeting at the church Sunaay afternoons; and they 
agreed to do so. I spoke to the pasior, P. W. Dowd, about it. 
He was delighted, and gave it out ihat next Sunday afternoon 

i8 Yates The Missionary. 

there would be a prayer meeting at the church, conducted by 
A, B, and C. All eyes turned upon us. The next Sunday when 
we went to church it was about hill. There were the old 
brethren and sisters in thi amen corners, with their elbows 
on their knees and their chins resting on their palms or be- 
tween their thumb and forefingers, taking a dead rest at us. 
Silence reigned. You could have heard a pin drop. Each of 
us three who were committed waited for the other to commence. 
Finally, when the silence became painful, I rose and gave out 
a hymn, which was joined m very heartily, and I led in prayer. 
I had not prayed long before the wicked one said to me, "Well, 
now you have done it. You have disgraced yourself and done 
the cause more harm than good. You had better quit, and never 
try again." By that time I began to think so, too, and rounded 
up as best I could. Without looking at the people I announced 
another hymn, and then called on one of the brethren to pray. 
He made a bad show, worse than I did. I am sure Satan at- 
tacked him in the same way that he did me. And he very soon 
rounded off badly. I called for another hymn, then asked the 
third man to pray. He did worse than the last man; not be- 
ing able to round up, he just quit by saying amen. I thought 
"I did not do so badly after all. I will appoint another meet- 
ing." But the next Sunday neither of those brethren came. 
And I have never heard of either of them leading in prayer 
since that Sunday. I guess they did not have a place for daily 

The Lord met me at the old stooping oak and told me that 
it was my duty to preach the gospel. Surely, I thought, I 
must be mistaken, for I have but little education, and I cannot 
preach. I tried for days and months to make something else 
my duty. But the Lord, by his Spirit, said, "No; this is your 
duty, walk yc in it." I promised thi Lord that I would prepare 
myself to be a school teacher, and would be an active member 
of the church. 

I was willing and ever ready to pray in public, but that did 
not quiet my conscience. I felt an irrepressible conviction 
that it was my duty to exhort my companions to flee the wrath 
to come. But how could I, whose education was so defective. 

Yates The Missionary. 19 

think of such a thing? My perplexity of mind was very great. 
I was concerned, not so much to know what I ought to do, 
for that was evident, as to know how far I could resist my con- 
victions of duty, and yet be faithful to God and my fellow 
men. For the only excuse I could render to God for not" at- 
tempting what I felt to be my duty, was my inability to speak 
well in public, and that excuse did not release me. 

In that state of mind, which was known only to myself and 
to him who knoweth all hearts, I could think of nothing 
better to do than to continue at my places for prayer, and all 
the day long, as I followed the plow to pray, "Lord, what wilt 
thou have me do?" Sometimes I was able to leave my places 
of prayer with the full determination to follow the directions of 
the Spirit, feeling assured that God would not require more of 
me than he would enable me to perform. This determination 
never failed to bring relief. I would set to work preparing an 
exhortation for the next monthly meeting. I imagined that 
I had something appropriate to every man I knew; for they 
all passed before me, in my mental preparation, and my heart 
yearned after them, even unto tears. It seemed so long a time 
from one meeting to the next. I often wondered why the 
church did not meet for v/orship every Sabbath. Sometimes 
my heart would tremble lest I should not be able to rise be- 
fore a large congregation. This, again, would give place to 
a sweet reliance on God that would enable me to rejoice when 
the day for going up to the house of prayer arrived. There 
were the people, and theie were opportunities, but no one 
expected me to say anything; and how could I, a great, green 
boy, summon courage enough to say by my actions that I was 
anxious to engage in so sacred and responsible a work as 
preaching Christ? I could not rise and face the audience. 

Thus, month after month, with confusion of face, I went away 
from church with my speech undelivered; and thus I passed the 
sixteenth and seventeenth years of my life, ever seeking to 
know' what the Lord would have me to do, and never without 
a clear conviction of what was my duty; always resolving that 
at the next meeting I would commence my work, and yet never 
able to perform it. I felt that the great barrier in the way was 

20 Yates The Missionary. 

my want of an education, without which I could not over- 
come the insurmountable difficulties in the way of my at- 
tempting public speaking; and that desideratum seemed to be 
beyond my reach, for I was then a full-grown man. 

My experience as a young Christian, trying to find the path 
of duty, and my observations of the practice of pastors of 
churches since 1836, and the effect of such practices upon the 
churches and the world at large, have impressed me with the 
idea that there is a fatal defect somewhere. The practice of 
baptizing new converts into the churches and leaving them, 
without any special instruction, to derive from the stated min- 
istration of the pulpit such spiritual food as is within their 
reach, to find out their duty to God and man, and to grow up 
into Christ the best they can (as was the case in my young 
days), is certainly not in accordance with the command of 
Christ, "teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have 
commanded you." 

Should not their pastor — no one can take his place — on the 
day of their baptism, and tor some time afterwards have these 
new converts alone, and give them their first lesson in religious 
life — teach them how to pray, and what to pray for? Yea, 
have each one, there and then, lead in prayer for what he 
wants. At that stage they can and may be induced to pray. 
In a word, show them how to commence a religious life, and 
encourage them in it. Watch them closely and know the 
workings of their minds and lead them into useful religious 
work. If pastors of churciies woula do this, they would soon 
find no scarcity of men and women to conduct meetings in 
different localities, and perform good work. A new life would 
spring up in the churches, and the desert would soon blossom 
as a rose. This is what I needed and what I craved. 

Without this fostering care, from the day of their baptism, 
a large proportion of those who do not die, for the want of life, 
will be rent by doubts and temptations, and, for the want of ex- 
ercise will become religious dwarfs. Left to themselves, they will 
never be able to find anything to do in the church, or to feel 
that it is their duty to do anything for the glory of Christ in 

Yates The Missionary. 21 

their midst, or for the extension of his kingdom in regions 

Who is responsible for the loss, to the church and the world, 
of the thousands of men now in th- learned and other profes- 
sions, who. during their early Christian life doubtless had some- 
thing like my experience and convictions of duty, but who, 
for the want of timely instructions and guidance, or even a 
word of sympathy from their pastors quailed before the dif- 
ficulties in their way, and successfully resisted and stifled their 
convictions of duty? 

My conscience constrains me to confess, that much of the 
responsibility rests with us pastors, who have the guidance of 
God's host, and have failed to take the young members by the 
hand and gently lead them into some good work. 

By this time I felt conscious that T could never be happy as 
a farmer, and that God had something else for me to do. After 
prayerful consideration of my situation, I managed, by a com- 
promise, to put off to some future day the final decision in re- 
gard to my life work. I promised my conscience that, late 
as it was, I would take steps to acquire an education that 
would enable me to teach a high school, which would be a 
great blessing to the neigliborhood; that I would become an 
active member in the church, and would, on all suitable oc- 
casions, exhort sinners to repent and be saved. 

With this end in view, I ventured to ask my father to give 
me my portion of goods then in the form of an education, as 
I had a conviction that farming would not be my vocation in 
life. He regretted extremely his inability to send all his children 
abroad to a good school, and said that for him to attempt to 
send me would be making an invidious distinction. I then 
told him that when I became a free man I intended to go to 
school if I had to make brick by moonlight to pay my way, 
and asked him if he would allow me liberty to go to school 
on my own responsibility when J was nineteen, the age at 
which my oldest brother had married. To this he assented, 
and promised to assist me some. W^'th desire I looked forward 
to the next year, when I hoped, with the proceeds of my horse, 
saddle, and bridle, to commence preparation for new work. 

22 Yates The Missionary. 

I felt that God had something for tne to do in the world, and 
that my first duty was to prepare myself for it. As I was a 
full-grown man and had not the means to accomplish what I 
had set before me, the prospect seemed dark indeed. But T 
resolved that, with the blessing of God, I would make a way — 
that no obstacle, that could be overcome by human effort, 
should be regarded as insurmouniable. This decision, made 
upon my i-cnees, gave me courage and atTorded some reliet. 
Thenceforth the object which I had set before me was the 
center around which all my thoughts, prayers, plans, and hopes 

Soon after this decision was made, I commenced my last 
quarter at an old field school. Here, where there were many 
grown young men, and the house being in an old field, I had 
some difficulty in finding a quiet piace for prayer and medita- 
tion. After some days of exploration, I came upon a deep 
gully, a sharp turn in which was well concealed from view by 
a thick bush of dogwood. Here, by placing a bit of board 
across the gully to raise my knees above the rivulet, I inquired 
of the Lord, and enjoyed many precious seasons of prayer. 
I next sought a suitable place whc?e I could sit unobserved 
and read and meditate upon the word of God. This I found 
in a thick pine bush, where, with my knife, I soon made a 
brush house, closed at the north and on the two sides and 
overhead, to protect me from the cold wind, and open to the 
south to admit the warm sun and light. 

Here, in this brush house, I studied the Bible during recess, 
and meditated upon the riches of the love of God in Christ 
Jesus, and upon the dark future. While the difficulties in the 
way of accomplishing the object I liad in view at times seemed 
insurmountable, I was never without hope that He who had 
inspired me with the desire to serve and honor Him would 
throw light upon my way. This hope, I observed, was always 
strongest after a season of prayer at the old oak tree in the 
morning, in the gully at noon, and in the stable at night, when 
I fed my horse. Often, for days, I felt the keenest compunction 
for failing to obey, to the best of my ability, the clear con- 
victions of my heart. 

Yatks The Missionary. 23 


PAY FOR — 1838-1846— AGE I9-27. 

Mr. Yates' reminiscences now tell of his student life 
in academy and college. 

As the time drew near when I would be at liberty to com- 
mence my career in pursuit of an education, it became a matter 
of important inquiry as to what school I should attend. My 
pastor, Mr. Dowd, who seemed to have an intuitive perception 
of my thoughts and aims, and of the enterprise upon which I 
was about to set out. recommended Wake Forest Hill Academy, 
distant from home thirty-four miles: and I, of course, took his 

In the northern portion of Wake Count\ is Wake 
Forest Township, which owes its name to the magnifi- 
cent forest of oak which originally extended for many 
miles. In this section, about three miles fiom Wake 
Forest College, was the excellent private academy of 
Mr. G. W. Thompson. This gentleman, who .Jterwards 
represented his district in the State senate, wsi a man of 
;!ffairs, of large influence, and, withal, of deep and in- 
telligent piety. His useful life was prolonged for very 
many years, and to the last he took delight in telling of 
the piety and industry of his former pupil. 

Early in the year 1838, with my trunk well filled with nice 
things, prepared by my dear mother and sisters, I took leave 
of the parental roof, for the first time, to be absent five months. 
Never shall I forget how deeply in-pressed I was with a sense 
of my dependence upon God. Mr. and Mrs. John Fleming, 
with whom it had been arranged for me to board, near the 
academy, received me cordially anO treated me kindly, and 
proved to be the excellent of the eaith. The next day I was 

24 Yates The Mis£ionary. 

introduced to the teacher of the acL.demy, George W. Thomp- 
son, whom 1 found to be a man oi small stature, intelligent, 
afYable, and evidently a good man. On the whole, I was much 
pleased with my prospects, and was able to rejoice in the good 
Providence that had guided me thus far. 

As Mr. Fleming had three other boarders, who occupied the 
same large room with me, I found it necessary to resort to 
the woods again for an altar of prayer, without which I could 
not feel that my communion with God was satisfactory. And 
as the undergrowth about the academy was very sparse, I 
had some difficulty in finding a suitable place. 

Finally I found in the midst of a majestic forest an immense 
hollow oak tree standing in a ravine. I cleaned oui tht hollow 
and made a plank floor to protect me from the dampness, for 
li: was big enough for me to turn around in. Thither I went 
every morning just before daylight. This hollow tree, in the 
ravine and before daylight, was darker than Egypt. But I was 
a^'raid of neither snakes nor devils, for I knew that ll.'C Lord 
was with me there. 

I became more and more impressed with the idea that my 
compromise would not bring me comfort, and that it was my 
duty to preach the gospel. I kept these thoughts to myself, 
and felt all the time that I was on trial. Consequently I had 
little or no religious enjoyment, feeling that I was living in the 
neglect of duty. I often wondered if other people had any 
fi'ch impressions about religious duty, and what they did with 
such impressions. 

One rainy morning, just at the ciack of day in that ravine, 
I was disturbed by a noise outside. I must have oeen praying 
audibly, for I heard some one say: "Who dat?" I stopped 
for a moment, and then began praying again. I was startled 
by a terrible yell outside. I peeped out and saw an oM negro 
man running down the hill as fast as he could, v ith a basket 
of corn on his arm, and the corn flying in every direction, as 
he cried: "Oh, lordy, have mercy on this poor nigger, for the 
day of judgment am come, and Fse not ready." Then I under- 
stood the situation. My colored friend's road to his pig-pen 
passed near my house of prayer. I frightened him more than 

Yates The Missionary. 25 

he did nic. But I hope it did him good. I never knew the 
Old man to pass that way again. 

At the end of the session I went home for a month, and then 
returned at the commencement of the next session to my same 
boarding house and hollow oak. 

The year 1839 I taught a school at Alount Pisgah Church, 
in order to secure the necessary funds to continue my studies. 
The walk to and from my school (twc and a half miles) afforded 
time and opportunity for meditation, and, by the side of an 
old pine, in a thick bush, not far from the camp ground, I 
found a suitable place for prayer at noon. It was a year of 
great mental conflict and spiritual dearth; for I was living in 
the neglect of known duty. I had not presented my body a 
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which was my 
reasonable service. To pray the prayer, "Lord, what wilt thou 
have me do," seemed a mockery. The Spirit of Truth seemed 
to indicate clearly that the ministry was my vocation, but I 
did not feel worthy to engage in so sacred and responsible a 
work, for I knew 1 was not prepared for it. 

The study of geography and history during the last session 
at school had made me somewhat acquainted with the moral 
condition of the millions in other lands, who were destitute 
of the knowledge of the true God, and of Jesus Christ, the way 
of life. I thought it strange that so little was said from the 
pulpit about the heathen who weie worshiping dumb idols— 
the images of dead men, or of imaginary beings. While med- 
itating on the tenth of Romans, th»: suggestion came to me. 
"Why should you wait for others? Why should you not go" 
and teach the heathen the way of life?" This question remained 
with me by day and by night. The impracticability of this 
/dea added much to my perplexity 01 mind. 

I now had two great questions t * solve: First, Shall I make 
known to my friends that I feel that I am called to preach 
the gospel? Second, Is it my duly to go far hence to the 
Gentiles? As I was not prepared to do either, I thought it 
best to keep these thoughts to mysell. 

Early in 1840 I returned to the academy and went to board 
with my teacher, Mr. Thompson. There I had a room to my- 

26 Yates The Missionary. 

self, a small brick office in the garden. In this quiet retreat I had 
every convenience for study, prayer, and meditation. These 
facilities only intensified my mental conflict; for, whenever I 
was not engaged with my studies, the subject of my duty to 
God and man was ever before my mind, demanding a decision. 
At times I tried to dismiss it from my thoughts by engaging 
in boyish sports, but the effect of these attempts was only 

Before the end of the session I was made to realize that, in 
resisting my convictions of duty, I was committhig a great 
sin, that I was driving from me the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, 
and that I could not expect happiness in this life, except in the 
path of duty. 

I spent one Sabbath afternoon in earnest prayer for guidance 
and for grace to do my duty. And there and then, upon my 
knees in that small brick Oihce, I was enabled to make a com- 
plete surrender of myself, soul and body, a living sacrifice unto 
God, to do whatsoever the Spirit of Truth might point out as 
my duty in life, and to go wheresoever he might assign me my 
work. Feeling that I was m the presence of the Holy One, I 
said, "O Lord, I am conscious that I am not now fitted for 
so great a work as preaching the gospel, but I will use my best 
efforts to improve the talents thou hast given me, and will use 
them to the best of my ability in thy service, and for the ad- 
vancement of thy kingdom. Here, Lord, I give myself to thee, 
use me for thy glory whensoever and wheresoever it seemeth 
good in thy sight." 

This surrender brought great relief and comfort to my weary 
soul. I went up to the house about twilight, found Brother 
Thompson alone on the po'-tico, and told him the impressions 
T had had for years and the decision to which I had come. He 
encouraged me, and warned me agi:inst resisting the Spirit o/ 

Mr. Thompson wrote some years ago this account of 
the interview: 

On my return, one day, from the Academy, Mr. Yates in- 
vited me to his room for a private and confidential mierview. 

Yates The Missionary. 27 

Then it was that, amidst an overflow of tender 'emotion, he 
expressed to me tiie impressions of his mind on the subject 
of the ministry. When 1 had heard him through, he asked me 
to advise him and tell him what to do, remarking at the same 
lime that he felt as though he would be willing to go to a land 
of heathenism to preach the gospel, were he competent for 
^l1ch a work. 

I advised him not to resist his impressions, and assured him 
that God would direct his steps. 

The reminiscences continue the story: 

I also wrote my impressions to my fiiend J. L. Prichard, who 
was about to graduate at Wake Forest College. He showed 
my letter to Rev. Samuel Wait, tlie president of the college, 
•vho invited me to call and see hin: at the college. I did so, 
and in a long interview told him something of my experience. 
His noble heart melted towards me. He at once urged me 
to come to college without delay and commence a regular 
course of study with the view of fitting myself for more effective i- 
work in the world. I urged my age (then twenty-one) and the 
want of the necessary funds as a bar to such an undertaking. 
He replied, "Never mind, never n'nid, where there is a will 
tlicre is a way. The State C(.nventi( n will help you; come to 
college; come next session." 

In a letter to Dr. Wait, written more than a year after 
his arrival in China, Mr. Yates referred to this 'nterview. 

Shanghai, September 20. 1848. 
To Rev. Sanmel Wait, D.D: 

My mind recurs with pleasure to my first interview with you. 
This was in the spring of 1840, and was the result of a lettc 
wliich I had addressed to Rev. J. L. Prichard in regard to 
my education, and my call to the ministry and the foreign 
field. That, though late, was an important epoch in my life. 
1 he measures then adopted in my behalf had, and w:!l have, 
an important bearing on my career in life. 

I often review with much pleasure my connection v^th you 
in college. The five years I passed at Wake Forest were to 

28 Yates The Missionary. 

me happy >ears, and I now more clearly see than I '-I'd then 
that they were the most important days of my early lite. 

Dr. Yates continues his narrative as follows: 

As I had resolved to consecrate my life to the service of God, 
I thought that I would give the matter prayerful consideration, 
consult a few wise and pru'lent friendir-, and then do what might 
seem to be for the glory of God. Mr Thompson, Rev. Thomas 
Meredith, then the editor of the Biblical Recorder, and my 
old pastor, Mr. Dowd, all advised me, notwithstanding 
my age, to go to college. They also promised their influence 
to secure aid from the Baptist State Convention. As I had 
resolved never to disobey again the voice of Providence, I 
prepared to go to Wake Forest College, and entered at the 
opening of the session, in August, ^.840. I had to begin with 
a class of boys, in what was then tlie preparatory department. 
President Wait, seeing the humiliating contrast, consoled me 
by saying, "Never mind; it is a horse and a pony race; a horse 
will outrun a pony in a long race." 

At the next session of the Convention, then a comparatively 
small body, I was adopted as its beneficiary. I was aided 
during my entire collegiate course and I have never ceased 
to be profoundly grateful. While in college I taught 
singing schools at the college and in the country 
churches, to meet, as far as possible, various incidental expenses. 
During my entire course, no one ever discovered my bush house 
of prayer, where I never ceased to seek light from above. 

Siiljscquent pages of this record will show that the 
gratitude to which Mr. Yates jcferred did not exhaust 
itself in sentiment. He was a constant contributor, dur- 
nig the last years of his life, to aid in the education of 
ministers at Wake Forest, and he gave to the Endow- 
ment and to the Students' Aid Fund at least six thousand 
dollars. The Seminary in Louisville, and Richmond 
A College also, as will be seen, received large gifts from 

Four honored, and now venerable, alumm of Wake 
Forest have kindlv furnished some of their renaniscences 

Yates Tin-: AIissionarv. ' 29 

of the student life of Dr. Yates. It will be iioiiced that 
these geutlenieii were intimate with him at different 
periods. 1 lie first two tell of his earlier years m college. 
Dr. J. H. Lane, of Marlboro County. S. C, who was 
a student at Wake Forest from 1838 to 1841, writes: 

Yates was the superintendent of a Sunday school at Wake 
Union Chnrch, about a mile from the college. I was an assistant 
in the school. In this way we were thrown together and be- 
came, first friends, and then room-mates. There was never the 
slightest jar in our friendship. He w?s a quiet, dignified young 
man, but good company and, in everything, a perfect gentle- 
man. He was quite tall and well formed. He dressed plainly, 
but always neatly. Yates was not a brilliant student, but, on 
the contrary, was slow. He was, however, very persevering 
and thorough. 

While I roomed with him, he haH. symptoms of the throat 
trouble that annoyed him in his subsequent career. Having the 
idea that stooping over his books made his throat w^orse, he 
had a desk made high enough to stand at while studying. I 
can vividly recall his tall form as he stood at that desk, and it 
seems to me that he always stood there. He rarely spoke of 
himself or of his plans after leavinc; college. When he did so, 
he always declared that he intended to preach the gospel to the 

A few weeks before his death in August, 1896, 
Rev. J. A. W. Thomas, of Bennettsville, S. C, wrote: 

My intercourse and association with Yates during the session 
we were together at Wake Forest, in 1841, was more intimate 
from the fact that he and Lane were room-mates. There were 
but two other students besides Lane and myself from South 
Carohna, and, quite natur-illy, we were often together. This 
brought us into the "corner room,'" Number 37, where slept 
and studied the great missionary. Lut I doubt if either of us 
ever thought that the modest, quiet young man was ever to 
attain to distinction in scholarship, or in anything else than 
purity of heart and conse>-ration to Christ. We all felt the 
infiuence of his piety. But, as I remember, we all thought that 

30 Yates The Missionary. 

he was a plodder. His application was close, but he took in 
things slowly. We were members of the same literary society; 
and I used to marvel how it was thni young men below him in 
the classes, of fewer years, and of less application to study, 
could worst him in debate. But T long ago learned to admire 
him the more when the plodder had become a leader in the 
world of letters as well as in Christian service. After Yates 
went to China, he seemed to make a second growth physically 
and intellectually and he ':!istanced all his competitors of the 
session of '41-2. But we reioiced in his success. 

Mr. Menalcus Lankford, who was a fellow student with 
Yates from 1841 to 1845, has contributed the following 
reminiscences. These, as well as those of Dr. Solomon, 
which follow, suggest that between the beginning and 
the end of his college course there was a marked de- 
velopment in the man, the student, and the debater. 

Yates was an early riser, and often did his best studying 
before sunrise. During one college term, I roomed immediately 
over him, his room being at that time on the first floor of the 
old dormitory building. Iti order that I, too, might form the 
habit of early rising, I procured a bell and, having attached 
it to the headboard of my bed, passed a wire connected with it 
through the floor and ceiling into Yates' room. By this means, 
he roused me early every morning. 

Yates' money became sc-irce, and, being greatly opposed to 
debt, he remained out of college on<" session, doing some kind 
of agency work. On his return, the following year, he had to 
fall back into the class of '46, of which I was a member. He 
became my room-mate, and I never had a better one. He was 
neat and orderly in everything. His room was nicely kept. 
It is a little thing, but I remember that, after washing, he in- 
variably rinsed out the bowl. His cress was plain, but always 
neat and in good taste. Though fond of exercise, he took no 
part in games. He had a good voice, and was fond of singing. 
While he bowed in silent prayer at his bedside before retiring, 
as his custom was, I was quiet and respectful; though at that 
time I prayed not for myself. 

Yates The Missionary. 31 

He was a good debater. Rarely, if ever, did he voluntarily 
defend what he considered the wrong side of a question. The 
students showed their confidence in him by frequently making 
him their judge or arbiter in matters of controversy. 

Rev. J. B. Solomon, D.D., now of Kentucky, who 
entered Wake Forest College during the cession of 
1844-5, tells of Mr. Yates as he knew him during his 
junior and senior years in college: 

When I first knew him, in January. 1845, Yates was a student 
in his junior year. He impresser* me as a young man of 
decided convictions. Plis Christian principles were manifest in 
all that he said and did. There was no ostentation, but his 
religion dominated his whole manne'- of life. 

His bearing was quiet and unassuming, both among his 
fellow students and in social circles. While he was genial and 
afTable, there was about him a nati^ e dignity which repressed 
all undue familiarity or unbecoming jocularity. This was the 
result of genuine manliness, purified and elevated by deep piety. 
While his manner was cordial toward all, his intimate com- 
charming. While free and easy in social life, he was eminently 
panions were few. With these he was unreserved, transparent, 
discreet and circumspect. Yet his discretion had no appearance 
of conscious constraint. He seemed to say or do just the right 
thing, because there was nothing else to be said or done. Cheer- 
ful and bright himself, he enjoyed innocent mirth as much as 
any of us. But he appeared to ki-ow instinctively the point 
where propriety ends and impropriety begins. 

As a student Yates was punctual and studious, never wasting 
his time. For the most part, he denied himself the social 
pleasures of College Hill, lest they should interfere with his 
studies. But he was careful to take such exercise daily as he 
deemed necessary for his health. 

To those who sought his advice he was a wise and loving 
counsellor. And he did not hesitate to speak words of caution 
to his more intimate companions. This was done with so much 
delicacy, and in such a loving, Christian spirit, that it not only 
accomplished the desired end, but endeared him the more to 
the admonished friend. 

52 Yatks The Missionary. 

Although a beneficiary of the Convention, Yates was not con- 
tent to receive aid when he could help himself. He sought 
opportunities for profitable employment which would not inter- 
fere with his duties as a student. Such an opportunity presented 
itself in 1845. 

A celebrated teacher of vocal music, by the name, I think, 
of Oakes, formed a class in Raleigh. Yates attended it every 
Saturday until he became quite proficient both In the science and 
the art of music. He then formed a class of students and of 
citizens of College Hill, which he taught in one of the college 
halls. As well as I can remember, the class numbered about 
forty, and he received five dollars from each member. He was 
the best teacher of vocal music whom I have ever met, and it 
is not remarkable that this enterprise was eminently successful. 

Yates undertook nothing hastily, but, having undertaken, he 
was patient and persevering. This characteristic adhered to him 
throughout his long and useful career. 


1846-7 AGE 27-8. 

RESIDENT WAIT and others had written to 
Rev. J. B. Taylor, Secretary of tlic Foreign 
Mission Koard, at Richmond, concr-rning Mr. 

Yates, whose convictions as to his life work 

were no secret on College Hill. 

In the winter before Mr. Yates' graduation, Mr. Tay- 
lor visited Wake Forest in order to meet the candidate 
for foreign work under the auspices of the Southern 
Baptist Convention. This had been organized only a 
few months before. 

As a result of this visit, any uncertainty as to the fit- 
ness of Mr. Yates for his chosen work was removed. 
President Wait, Professor White, and Mr. J. S Purefoy, 

Yates The Missionary. 33 

all men of sound practical judgment, urged tl;at he was 
eminently well qualified, and a favorable impression was 
made by Mr. Yates himself. 

The following letter was written Ijy i\Ir. Ta\lor at the 
time to a member of his family: 

Raleigh, Feb. 15, 1846. 

It was found to be important that I should remain at Wake 
Forest two days, as a young brother is there who in all proba- 
bility will be engaged as one of our missionaries. His name is 
Yates. I am much pleased with hirr-., and cannot but hope that 
the Lord intends him for eminent usefulness. His college 
studies will close in June. He seeir- determined to spend his 
life among the heathen. The professors all speak well of him, 
und think him, in many respects, eminently qualified for the 
work. I had several interviews with him. 

In a letter dated March 17, 1846, Mr. Yates wrote: 

My attention was first directed to the condition of the heathen 
world from reading the Memoirs oi Mrs. Judson, soon after 
obtaining, I trust, the remission of miy sins. Frequently did 
I weep for hours, while following mv plow or using my trowel, 
when I would reflect that the poor heathen, who knew nothing 
of Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, must die and 
appear before God to be judged according to their works in this 

In April, 1846, Professor White wrote fr:m Wake 
Forest College to the Foreign Mission Board: 

Mr. Yates is over six fe^.t high, straight, broad-chested, and 
inclined to be spare, with black ryes and hair, an agreeable 
countenance, and, for his opportunity, an easy and dignified 
manner. He has been here about six years. He has a very 
pleasant, full voice and possesses, indeed, many elements of 
a forcible and commanding speaker. I think that he has a 
well-balanced mind. 

During the spring of 1846 Mr. Yates was not in vigor- 
ous health, and was almost ready, on that account, to 

34 Yates The Missionary. 

surrender his cherished purpose of becoming a foreign 


Wake Forest College, May lo, 1846. 

To Rev. James B. Taylor, Corresponding Secretary: 

I am now almost ready to despair of ever being restored to 
perfect health again. While my heart is deeply interested in the 
cause of missions, I much doubt the expediency of the step. 
My father's family physician says that I could not live three 
years in an Eastern clime. If this be true, to send me out 
would be a useless expenditure on the part of the Board. 
All I wish in this case is to know what my duty is. 

In view of the facts, as we now know thern, that he 
lived, not three, but nearly forty-three years m China, 
and that thirty-five years after leaving college he could 
write, 'T am as stout as a Hercules and as erect as a 
Belvedere," one cannot but be amused at the confident 
opinion of the physician. 

Two years later Mr. S. G. O'Bryan, a Wake Forest 
student, in response to the personal appeals of Mr. Yates, 
declared his willingness to go to China. He was not 
encouraged to do so on account of the adverse opinion 
of a physician, who, after expressing this opinion, wrote: 
"Phvsicians, however, are not always prophets, and their 
opinions must necessarily fall into the channel of all 
human fallibility." The good doctor's wisdom in making 
this modest disclaimer is apparent in view of the fact that 
Mr. O'Bryan, after serving several years as a professor 
in Baylor University, labored for many years as a pioneer 
preacher in Texas. 

Subsequently Mr. Yates wrote to Mr. Taylor: 

I have, with prayerful meditation, looked over the globe, and 
there is no field which seems to me so inviting as China. I am 
now resolved, and I hope that I have been guided by the Holy 
Spirit — that, let others say what they may about rushing into 
danger, I will go wheresoever God, in his providence, may 
direct me. Since coming to this irrevocable conclusion my 

Yates The Missionary. 35 

feelings and affections seem to have winged their way to China. 
This enterprise has swallowed up every other. 

The iniproveinent of Mr. Yates' health, and the more 
favorable opinion of other physicians, removed the dififi- 
ciiltv which had seemed to bar his way to China. Of the 
removal of anc^ther obstacle he has written in his remi- 

When I graduated, in June, 1846 Prof. White, at that time 
the acting president, asked me wha; I intended to do next. I 
replied that I wished first to engatt in something that would 
enable me to pay a debt of $250, incurred in securing my edu- 
cation, and, after that, I proposed to offer myself to the Foreign 
Mission Board, as I felt that the Lord required my services in 
a heathen land. 

That same afternoon he came to my room and said, "Here, 
Yates, is the money you say you require to liberate you. Now 
prepare yourself for China." 

He had collected the amount on College Hill. 

At the same time Prof. White handed me three letters. In 
two of these were offers of desirable positions for work. One 
of them, from Alabama, invited me to preach to two churches 
and teach a select school at a salaiy of $2,000 a year. I de- 
clined these positions and answered favorably the other letter, 
which was from the Secretary of the Board, in Richmond. Thus 
I consecrated my life to the Foreign Alission work in China, at 
a salary of $750 a year. 

After spending a few weeks at home, Mr. Yates visited 
Richmond, Va., and appeared before the Board. He 
was promptly accepted as a missionary, and, on August 
3, 1846, he entered into the relations whose cordiality 
remained unmarred until the end of his service and his' 
life. On his return to North Carolina, he sought by 
travel to widen the range of his acquaintance and influ- 
ence, and visited several sections of the State, preaching 
and pleading for missions. 

One of the most important events of Mr. Yates' life, 
an event which had no little to do with his subsequent 

36 Yates The Missionary. 

usefulness, was his marriage, on September 27th, 1846. 
to Eliza E. Moring, of Chatham County. The consecra- 
tion, cheerful endurance, and excellent sen^.e of this 
lovely and cultured woman will, to some extent, be 
revealed to the reader of these pages. To no missionary 
was ever given a more loyal and efficient helpmeet. 

Eliza Moring was born December 14, 1821, in Chat- 
ham County, N. C. Her father, John Moring, having 
died while she was very young, she became an inmate of 
the home of her uncle, Mr. Christopher Moring, a pros- 
perous merchant of Greensboro. Here she enjoyed ex- 
cellent educational advantages. Having completed the 
course of study in a Presbyterian seminary, she accepted 
a position as governess in the family of Mi. William 
Merritt, in her native county. This position she oc- 
cupied until her marriage. 

Her acquaintance with Mr. Yates dated from her 
childhood. During vacations they were often together, 
and their long friendship ripened into a strong\;r attach- 

She had been reared in a Christian home, and early 
in life had made a profession of religion. But, being at 
first a doubting Christian, and having an exalted con- 
ception of the responsibilities of church membership, she 
deferred following Christ in baptism until after her mar- 
riage. On November 14th, 1846, she was baptized by 
Dr. Wait into the fellowship of tfie Wake Forest Bap- 
tist Church. 

After she once entered the path of duty whieh opened 
before her, every doubt seemed to have vanished. Her 
Christian life w'as henceforth irradiated with sunshine. 
Amid privations, perils, afflictions, and discouragements,, 
her faith was strong and her hope cheerful. 

'Tn the beauty of her modesty," wrote Dr. Tupper, 
''this lady refers to herself as 'the wife of a missionary;' 
but more than once, during the long absences of her hus- 
band, the whole responsi])ilty of the Shanghai Mission 
has been thrown upon her and the native pastor. The 
business-like manner in which affairs have been man- 


Yates Tin-: Missionary. 37 

aei^cd and accounts rendered lias been so niaiked as to 
solicit the express connnendatini.: of the Board." 

As a loval co-worker, as well as a loving" companion, 
she stood by lier Imsband's side for forty }ears, and 
after his death she for six years continued her beloved, 
work at Shanghai as an unpaid missionary. 

The large place occupied bv her in the life of Mr. 
"^'ates, and in the early history of the Shanghai Mission, 
will justify the insertion into this story of a numl^er of her 

I)y request of Mount Pisgah Church, Mr. Yates was 
ordained during the meeting of the Baptist State Con- 
vention, which, that year, met in Raleigh. The services 
were on Sunday night, October i8th. Thomas Meredith 
preached the sermon, J. Dennis of^fered the prayer, J. 
B. Taylor delivered the charge, Richard Fuiman pre- 
sented the Bible, and Samuel Wait gave the right hand 
of fellowship. 

Dr. Solomon, who was present, says: 

Mr. Yates was much exercised in mind on the subject of his 
ordination. Almost to a painful degree did he feel its solemn 
import, in view of the special work to which he was about to 
be set apart. 

The ordination was one of the most impressive and pathetic 
scenes that 1 have ever witnessed. Several of those who had 
been his fellow students, at his request, joined with him in 
singing the hymn selected by himself; 

Yes, my nature land, 1 love thee. 
All thy scenes I love them well, 

Friends, connections, happy country, 
Can I bid you all farewell? 
^ Can 1 leave you. 

Far in heathen lands to dwell? 

Rev. James B. Taylor, of Richmond, Va., in delivering the 
charge to the candidate, used one illustration which I have 
never forgotten. He said, in subst:ince: By a triumph of 
science, within the last few weeks, a man in New York can now 

38 Yates The Missionary. 

send a message almost instantaneously to his friend in New 
Orleans. You, my brother, are going to the antipodes. We 
can no longer see you. But we shall have a line of swifter 
communication with you, through the throne of God, than any 
that human science has ever invented. 

There were few dry eyes in the crowded audience when these 
services closed. 

Like a fertilizing wave, the enthusiasm aroused by 
these interesting services at the Convention flowed over 
North Carolina and into other States. The long latent 
sense of obligation to the heathen was for the first time 
awakened in many hearts. P^or Yates was the first mis- 
7- sionary to go from North Carolina to a foreign land. 

That Yates in China did more to build up the kingdom 
of Christ in America than Yates in America could have 
done, will hardly be doubted. And, though no man can 
tell what noble structures are to be built upon the solid 
foundations laid by him in China, it may be questioned 
whether the reflex influence of his work upon the 
churches at home was not equal to the direct influence 
of his work abroad. 

Previous to this time, the obligation to give the gospel 
to the heathen had rested very lightly upon the great 
majority of the Baptists of North Carolina. Sf)me of the 
more intelligent and pious, stirred by the fervid eloqu- 
ence of Luther Rice and others, or touched by the pa- 
thetic memoir of Mrs. Judson, had begun to take a lively 
interest in Foreign Missions. Others, infltienced by the 
addresses and writings of the anti-missionary -^O shorn, 
had been provoked into hostility to all missionary enter- 
prise, a hostility which rent asunder churches and as- 
sociations. But with most of the Baptists of the State 

*Elder James Osborn, of Maryland, about 1830-5, traveled 
extensively among the Baptist churches of North Carolina. 
He sold his books, misrepresented ^he purposes and methods of 
missionary organizations, rxnd sowed the seeds of dissension. 
This was the genesis of the anti-missionary churches and as- 
sociations in the State. 

Yates The Missionary. 39 

ihcro was neither interest nor hostility, but only indiffer- 
ence. In one of his earher letters to Mr. Yates, after the 
latter had reached Shanc^hai, Rev. J. B. Taylor wrote: 
"Yon know something- of the state of things among the 
churches, and how utterly dead they have been to the 
great responsibility of giving the gospel to the world. 
It is truly a day of small things. It is not, however, to 
be despised; a change will take place." The change did 
come; its extent is revealed by the large and steady in- 
crease of contributions. The year before the Civil War 
the Baptists of North Carolina gave to Foreign Missions 
more than ten times as much as they had given in 1846. 

In the autumn of 1846 the Raleigh Association, which 
at that time included also the churches now composing 
the Central Association, passed with enthusiasm a reso- 
lution which must have been both gratifying and reas- 
suring to the young missionary. Here is the record: 

It is unanimousl}'- resolved that this body adopts Brother 
Matthew T. Yates as our son and oil'- missionary to China, and 
that we, as a body of Christians, will give him a competent 
support during his stay or life. 

At the Convention, Rev. R. Furman, then pastor in 
Newbern, offered a resolution which, after nitntioning 
the action of the association, concluded by saying: "We 
behold in this event cheering indications of th i mission- 
ary spirit, for which we rejoice and bless the God of 

The committee which was annually appointed by the 
association to carry into effect the latter pait of their 
resolution, reported in 1850, "Four years have passed, 
and each year the pledge has been redeemed." A few 
years later, however, there was a great falling off, and 
the pledge was not entirely redeemed. But in later 
years the Raleigh and Central Associations paid in full 
Dr. Yates' salary of v$i,ooo. 

At this time, and doubtless through the influence of 
Mr. Yates, was organized at Wake Forest College the 

40 Yates The Missionary. 

Society for Enquiry as to the Moral and Religious Con- 
dition of the World. This society, under a changed name 
and a modified organization, has never ceased to meet 
regularly once a month. At least half a score of men 
who, during their student life, were members of it, have 
become foreign missionaries, and hundreds, now pastors 
in all parts of the United States, have gained from it 
information and inspiration as to the missionary enter- 

Dr. Willingham has said in the Seminary Magazine: 

North Carolina is known as 'Thf Missionary State," because 
of the number of her sons and daughters who have gone to 
mission fields. Much of this is doubtless due to M. T. Yates, 
but North Carolina has not been the only State quickened; 
his influence has gone through the whole Convention which 
sent him, and has reached to the end^^ of the earth. 

A designation service of unusual interest was held in 
the first Baptist church in Richmond on the night of 
December i8th. Though the services w^ere protracted 
to a late hour, a large audience remained deeply inter- 
ested to the close. J. B. Jeter, President of the Board, 
M. T. Sumner, J. B. Taylor, E. Kingsford, i). Shaver, 
and A. Hall took prominent parts. Addresses were 
made, also, by Yates, Shuck, Tobey, Yong Seen Sang, 
and Dr. James. Rev. Frank Johnson, who belonged to 
the party, was too unwell to be present. ivFr. Yates' 
address on this occasion, "On the importance of diffus- 
ing missionary information," was altogether practical ui 
its nature. 

It had been planned that Yates, Tobey, and Shuck, 
with their wives, Johnson, and the Christian Chinaman, 
Yong-seen-sang, should make the voyage to China to- 
gether. These all met in Philadelphia, February 21, 
1847. The next day, Sunday, a great congregation, in- 
cluding many ministers, gathered at Dr. Kennard's 
church to hear and speed on their way the missionary 
party. "Also at Sansom Street Church, at night," wrote 
one of the party, "we received again assurances of the 

Yates The Missionary. 41 

sympathy of onr Philadelphia brethren. Their ad- 
dresses, prayers, and conduct all showed genuine love 
for us. Alay God richly bless them." 

1 he next day, accompanied by Mr. Taylor, the Sec- 
retary of the Hoard, they went to New York. There also, 
at Dr. Cone's church, they were greeted by a large gath- 
ering, in which were many ministers. ''Fervently were 
we commended by them to God.'' 

One of the young missionaries was greatly impressed 
by Dr. Cone, and wrote to a friend: "Dr. Cone, sir, is a 
man that stands straight up on his feet and Icoks right 
out of his two eyes and speaks right from his jieart." 

The serious illness of Airs. Yates prevented the origi- 
nal plan from being carried out. The other members 
of the party sailed on March nth, 1847, on the Ash- 
burton, leaving Mr. Yates and his wife behind, c-nd sorelv 
disappomted. Mr. Taylor wrote from Boston: 

Our afilicted sister would willingly have been carried to her 
berth and have been borne from our shores with the hazard of 
finding a grave in the oceai; but th.e interdict of the physician 
and the advice of her friends prevented. 

Mr. Yates remained several weeks in New York, for 
the most part at the bedside of his wife. Whde in this 
cjty they were entertained at the home of Mr. and Mrs 
Cilley, who treated them more like their own children 
than as guests. 

A month, also, while Mrs. Yates was regaining her 
strength, was spent in Boston in the hospitable home of 
Mr. Poland. 

During this detention in Boston, Mr. Yatcs had oc- 
casion to refer in grateful terms to the kind services of 
the mend)ers of the Board of the Missionary Union. 

It was from Mr. Poland's home that he wrote for the 
press the first of his numerous appeals for mo:c men and 
women to work by his side in China. In closing this 
article he said: 

Our churches are much disposed to say of their young men 
whose hearts are burning with love to God and their fellow- 

42 Yates The Missionary. 

men, "Let them alone; if they are caHed to preach, they'll do it, 
let their circumstances be what they may." 

By pursuing- this course, many a modest and promising plant 
has been left to droop and die for want of proper culture. 
Brethren, you should take them by their trembling hands and 
lead them to the work. 

On April 26, 1847, t^^^Y embarked at Boston for Hong 
Kong- on the Thos. W. Sears, which Mr. Yates described 
as a fine and fast sailing vessel. The voyage v> as, on th3 
whole, pleasant and without ether incident than one 
fearful storm, which was encountered in mid- ocean and 
lasted for five days. 

Even while hearing what he described as "the hideous 
howling of the winds," Mr. Yates wrote: "There is in 
a storm at sea something that is awfully sui/.ime; and 
}et, to a composed mind, there is much that is beautiful.'' 
He was at all times a good sailor, and nevci suffered 
from sea-sickness. 

Our travelers, on their arrival at Hong Koiig, found 
tiiat thev had no reason to regret their enforced delay in 
America. Mr. Shuck and his companions, though they 
had sailed about six weeks before Mr. Yates and his wife, 
had reached Hong Kong only twenty-two days before 
them. And the voyage of the latter was not only three 
weeks shorter, but it was far more pleasant; for their 
friends told them that "the conduct of the captain of the 
Ashburton, an outspoken infidel, was coarse, vilgar, and 
brutal toward the missionaries. An awful captain." 

Perhaps the "awful captain" was the occasion thereof, 
but several of the Ashburton party were not in lit condi- 
tion to proceed at once to their assigned fields of labor, 
Mr. Yates, however, thought it his duty to avail himself 
of the first opportunity to re-embark for Shangnai. 

A letter from Mrs. Yates to the wife of President Wait 
describes the arrival in that city. 

At Sea, Sept. 4, 1847. 

It was on Monday, August 3d, about 8 o'clock in the even- 
ing, that we left Hong Kong for "Whampoa, where this vessel, 

Yates The Missionary. 43 

the barciuc Eliza K. Killish. was lyino. Very unexpected indeed 
was this second separation trom our friends; but though to set 
out again, alone, and for c. city in which dwells not a single 
individual to whom we are known was an unpleasant duty, 
still it was a duty. 

We greatly long to get settled and begin the study of the lan- 
guage. The Canton statior. was anxious to keep Mr. Yates in 
place of Mr. Clopton, and had, 1 think, before our arrival, 
written to the board for permission to do so. 

Contrary to what was told us m America, I have already found 
out that there are but few articles of food which cannot be pro- 
cured in China. One may fare sumptuously every day. 

But such is not my w^ish. Fortunately for me, sweet potatoes 
are abundant and cheap; ^rom choice I live on them for the 
most part. 

September 8. — Not at Shanghai yet. Init nearly there. The 
charts for this coast are imperfect and, as piloting is not 
practiced here, a considerable part of two days has been lost 
in guarding against possible dangers. 

I have just been up to 100k around. The land is very low 
and level, but the eye rests with pleasure on the verdure which 
spreads over it. We are near the entrance of the Woo-Sung 
River, two miles from the city which is to be our place of 
sojourn. Oh. that w-e may begin and carry on our work of 
teaching the Chinese in the fullness of the spirit of the gospel 
of Christ! The obstacles are many; the instruments are weak; 
but (and here is comfort) God is omnipotent and often his 
strength is made perfect in weakness. He who said, "Go ye 
into all the world," said also, "And lo, I am with you." What 
more can the missionary ask? 

The consciousness of weakness and the reliance upon 
the power of God expressed in this letter rec.:\ll the an- 
sv»xr which the pioneer missionary to China, Robert 
Morrison, made to a pert shipping clerk. When he en- 
gaged his passage, the clerk said to him: ''And so, ^Ir. 
Morrison, you really expect thai you will mai<e an im- 
pression on the idolatry of the great Chinese Empire?" 

44 Yates The Missionary. 

"No, sir," said Morrison, with more than his usur\ stern- 
ness, "but I expect that God will." The letter continues: 

I feel that I was blessed in havinr^ a separate passage across 
the wide ocean, for my time was almost exclusively my own, 
and my heart had full time for a close examination of its state 
before God. I had many bitter hours; I rejoice that I had. I 
then resolved and solemnly promised the Lord that I would 
strive to know my duty and to perfoi m it, though every friend I 
have should frown, and thoagh all the world should ridicule my 

September 13. — Reached Shanghai yesterday at 12 o'clock. 
As it was the Sabbath, we made no effort to land. To-day my 
husband went ashore and, after a few hours absence, returned 
with two Episcopal friends, Rev. Messrs. Spaulding and Syle. 
The latter invited us to his house and has given us his parlor 
as a chamber, till a house can be rented. 

October nth finds us housekeeping, in which we have had 
nearly three weeks' experience. Imagine yourself compelled to 
direct the affairs of a family whiK". unable to understand the 
language of your domestics or to make them understand your 
wishes. Then, perhaps, you will be able to form a faint idea 
of my difficulties. But there is one comfort. The difficulties 
grow less daily, as fast as I can store away words and sentences 
of this oddest of languages in this leaky head of mine. 

After a few weeks I hope to be able to trust Chinese servants 
with my domestic work and give myselt up to study. However, 
there is thought to be no oetter way of acquiring the colloquial 
dialect than by conversing with the natives. And this I am 
compelled to attempt. 

Mr. Yates was among the pioneers in actual mission- 
ary work in China. For some years, it is true, Protest- 
ant missionaries had been waiting at the unopened gates 
of the Empire. Much valuable preparatory work had 
been done by Morrison, Milne, Medhurst, Williams, and 
others. But they were compelled to do this work, for 
the most part, at Macao, Malacca, Singapore, and Ban- 
kok among Chinese emigrants. Mr. Yates l^egan work 

Yates The Missionary. 45 

at Shanghai, less than four years after the ratixication of 
the treaty which granted to all foreigners the privilege 
of residence in the five ports of Canton, Amoy, Fuhchaii, 
Ningpo, and Shanghai. 

Before the young missionary and his companion, as 
they sailed up the Yang-tsz and W'hampoo riveiS, lay the 
most densely populated province of the Chinese Empire. 
But among the swarming multitudes there WdS not one 
person whom he had ever seen before. Unannounced 
and solitary was the arrival of the two young strangers 
who, absolutely ignorant of the language, the place, and 
the people, but with strong faith in God. had come to 
help in laying the foundations of "a mighty superstruc- 
ture" w'hich was to supplant idolatrous systems of uni- 
versal acceptance. 



HE city of Shanghai, for forty-two year^ the home 
of Mr. Yates, is the most northern of the "Five 
Ports" opened in 1842 to the commerce of all 
nations. It is situated on about the same par- 
allel of latitude with the city of Savannah, Ga., but is 
much warmer in summer and colder in winter than that 
city. Mr. Yates said that he had seen snow jiiore than 
three feet deep on the level. The climate is said to be, 
on the whole, salubrious. 

The well watered and fertile plain of the Yang-tST 
River extends for many miles around the city. There 
IS not a hill within forty miles, but there was \n 1847 ^ 
vast pile of dirt within the walls, the accumulation of 
many years, like John Harmon's dust-heap, described 
by Dickens in Our Mutual Friend. 

The city wall is six or seven miles in circumference, 
with bastions at regular intervals. The north and west 

46 Yates The Missionary. 

sides are each entered by one, and the east and south 
sides by two gates. The population, now more than 
600,000, long since oversowed the limits of the walls 
until there were as many without as within ihem. Be- 
tween these suburbs and the city proper are wide and 
deep canals. Similar canals intersect the city, and are 
available for transportation and lor water supply. 

The streets are narrow, dirty, and crowded with pedes- 
trians and vendors, chiefly of food. The houses, one or 
two stories high, are, for the most part, builu of lead- 
colored brick. With the exception of a few public build- 
ungs, there is in the architecture of the city but little to 
please the eye. 

Though tine trees and beautiful shrubbery are abun- 
dant, there are no forests near Shanghai. The soil of 
the great alluvial plain is so rich that three crops a year 
are obtained from the same fields, viz, coiton, wheat, 
and pulse. The cotton is sowxd broadcast, and every 
stalk is carefully saved for fuel. 

The northern suburbs of the city are occupied by for- 
eigners. Here, on an extended river frontage, are 
spacious warehouses. For Shanghai is a gi eat empo- 
rium of trade, especially in tea and silks. It is the gate 
of entrance to thirteen out of the eighteen provinces of 
the Chinese Empire. Situated sixty miles from the sea, 
and near the Yang-tsz River, the Mississippi of China, 
the city has been called the New Orleans of the Empire. 

Of his introduction to and earliest adventures in this 
strange city, which was to be his life-long home and 
field of labor, Mr. Yates has written a charming narra- 

I knew no one in the great city that lay before me. Nor 
was there in it any foreign hotel or boarding house, where we 
might stay for a few days. And as to the foreign merchants 
and missionaries already there, mos: of them were in the heart 
of the native city. As we walked the deck of the ship, viewing 
the dark ocean of heathenism before us, we held a consultation. 
The decision was that the leap in the dark must be taken. The 

Yates The Missionary. 47 

first thing was to get a t>lace for a base of operations, a standing 
ground that we could call our home. Difficulties we expected 
and were prepared to take them as they came. 

While I was in Hong Kong, Dr. Dean had given me a letter 
of introduction to the Austrian Consul at Shanghai, whose 
house was near the anchorage. Armed with this, I left Mrs. 
Yates on board the ship, and went ou shore to spy out the land. 
The Austrian Consul, havmg his house full of ship-wrecked 
French ofificers, could afTord me no accommodations. He put 
me into his official sedan chiir, having four bearers and a runner 
ahead, to clear the way, and directed them to take me to the 
house of Bishop Boone, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 
distant one and one-half miles. 

They dashed into the crowded stieet (only seven or eight 
feet wide) at what I thought a dangerous speed, screaming an 
unintelligible speech. This I supposed from the actions of the 
runner, who shoved the people against the walls, was to make 
them yield the road. Some careless ones, not heeding the call, 
received hard knocks with the corners of my sedan. Seeing 
this and desirous of their safety, I drew myself together, first 
on one side of the sedan, then on the other, trying to save 
them as much as possible. But I soon discovered that all ef- 
forts on my part were useless. The people, as I judged from 
their countenances and actions, abused the bearers, while the 
bearers abused the people for not heeding their call to get out 
of the way. I seemed in the midst cf a riotous mob for at least 
one mile. When the apparent disturbance seemed to reach its 
culminating point, I perceived that 1 was being carried up, 
and tip, to the eaves of the houses on either side; then I crossed 
a high rock bridge; and then, as quickly as by a sudden dive, 
I descended into the dark mass of humanity. 1 say dark, for 
the street being very nar"ow and covered over with coarse 
matting to keep out the sun, had the appearance of a dimly- 
lighted tunnel. 

Thus I went on, and on, till the sedan turned a corner and 
soon was set down in a nariow alley. I crawled out and began 
to look for the bishop's house. But the houses were all Chinese. 
I knocked at some of the doors in the high walls, and had 

48 Yates The Missionary. 

them slammed in my face, for they were Chinese residences. 
After some beating about in the numerous narrow passages, 
I spied a foreign child's dress hung out to dry. 

Invited by this sign of civilization I entered the house of 
Rev. E. W. Syle, and, much to his surprise, not through the 
gate, but through the back court and kitchen. Bishop Boone, 
who lived next door, came in, and they soon comprehended my 
situation. But neither of them had a room or bed to spare. 

Mr. Syle went out with me to look at some vacant houses that 
were for rent. They proved to be large, one-story, sugar ware- 
houses, with floors as damp as that of an ice house. After 
lunch we went out again; but nothmg that we saw would do 
for a white man to live in. As evening was approaching and I 
knew that Mrs. Yates was already becoming uneasy at my 
absence, we returned and reported onr failure to Bishop Boone. 
He very kindly said, "If you have bedding, you can sleep on 
my parlor floor; that is the best we can do for you." I gladly 
accepted his ofifer, and at once returned to the vessel, much 
to the relief of Mrs. Yates. Mr. Syle, who could speak the lan- 
guage to some extent, assisted me in getting some things on 
shore before it was quite dark. Thus, you see, we made an 
humble entrance into Chinr-, our first night at Shanghai being 
passed on the floor; but we entered. Next day the good bishop 
succeeded in borrowing a bedstead and we were more com- 

In a few days, with the assistance of Mr. Syle, I rented a 
house about the center of the city. It was well known to be 
haunted; no Chinaman, for any consideration, could be in- 
duced to live in it, for several murders had been committed 
within its high walls. The landlord frankly told Mr. Syle that 
the house — known as Yah-djaw-loong — was infested with devils 
He was amazed to learn that we wert- not afraid of devils; and 
still more so to learn that when we went in the evil spirits would 

This house had been las; used a-, a pawnbroker's establish- 
ment. All the partitions above stairs had been removed, leaving 
a large, barn-like hall, pierced at regular intervals by the posts 
which both supported the heavy tile roof and indicated the 

Yates The Missionary. 49 

divisions of the space into rooms. PJcre were abundant signs of 
the spirits or ghosts, of which we had been duly warned — rats. 
Into one side of this dirty place we moved ourselves with sundry 
boxes and trunks containing our worldly goods. 

This was a time to hear, words of complaint from a wife if 
she had not counted the cost or fully made up her mind to 
share my fortune. But from that day to the present no such 
word has ever been known to pass her lips. All honor to a 
brave woman! 

I had come provided witii a box of carpenter's tools. Bed- 
stead, cooking stove, crockery, etc. were soon unpacked so 
far as to provide for immediate necessities. And, with the 
boards and nails of packing cases, my own hands extemporized 
a partition higher than a inan's head, and so made a private 

The day we moved in, JMr. Syle had his cook do some mar- 
keting for us and secure a man whorr- we called cook. He was 
able and willing to work, and understood signs very readily- 
We had no other means of commum cation with him. 

However, we had learned from Mr. Syle, one sentence of 
the spoken language — Te-ko-kiaw-sal What is this called'? Thus 
supplied with a house, a cook, a ham., a few vegetables (we had 
also a few biscuits with us), and one sentence of the spoken lan- 
guage, we commenced life \n Shanghai. 

When Mr. Syle left us alone in Yah-djaw-loong, our con- 
sciousness of impotence was oppressive in the extreme. We 
were as ignorant of the language of the people as that of birds 
or beasts. Moreover our combined knowledge of practical 
housekeeping soon demonstrated that we had imported an 
ignorance that was equivalent to paralysis. We could not give 
the cook directions about our first meal, nor could we cook 
a bowl of rice ourselves. A dilemma! But something had to be 

Hard work at opening cases and unpacking reminded us 

it was dinner time. The cook stood before us, grinning as he 

waited for orders. What should I do? I believed that I could 

fry a slice of ham and scramble a few eggs. So, armed with 


50 Yates The Missionary. 

the one sentence, ''What is this called?" and Mrs. Yates with 
blank book and pencil for taking notes, down the ladder we 
crawled to the improvised kitchen, followed by the cook, who 
for the time was our teacher. I pointed at the cooking stove, 
and said Te-ko-kiazv-sa? (What is this called?) Answer, Tih- 
tsaw. "Write that down." Seizing a bit of wood, I said: 
Te-ko-kiaw-sal Answer, Sza. I struck a match, and pointing 
at the fire, said, Te-ko-kiazu-sa? Answer, JVJw. I made a 
fire in the stove: Te-ko-kiazv-sa? Answer, Sang-who. In like 
manner I took the carving knife, the ham, cut the ham, took 
up a frying pan, cleaned it, fried the ham, took some eggs, 
scrambled them, put them in a dis'.i, asking about everything 
and every act, Te-ko-kiazv-sa? and Mrs. Yates writing down 
the answer. 

We then crawled up the ladder to our great hall, feeling 
that we had accomplished something. Taking a cloth, the 
lining of a box, to spread on a packing case (for we had no 
table), I said, Tc-ko-kiazv-sa? Answer. Tsz-iare. Then, placing 
on it all the furniture necessary lo^ our simple repast, and 
asking the name of each article, I said, Te-ko-kiaw-sa? Answer, 
Ba tay-tsz (set the table). 

We partook of ham and '"ggs with relish, asking no questions 
till we had finished. Then I said, Te-ko-kiazu-sa? Answer, 
CKuh-van (eat rice). 

Thus we prepaicd and ate our first meal in our own hired 
house. The character of our conversation, while we ate, I 
leave you to imagine; for the way before us was dark. We 
found great difficulty in d'^ciding what English letters would 
best represent to our ears the strange sounds we heard; for 
many of these sounds seemed to have no well defined initial 
or final letter in our alphabet. But T remembered what President 
Wait said to me on entering; college late in life and with limited 
funds, ''Where there is a w'll, there is a way." 

We set vigorously to work again, unpacking and putting 
things on the bed; for we had nowhere else to put them. That 
key sentence which gave us the names of things was in con- 
stant use till supper time. After consultation, we ventured 
an order for supper. The cook was called and had read 

Yates The Missionary. 51 

out to him a digest of what we had written down, as follows: 
Tih-tsaw (cooking stove), sang-zvho (light a fire), ngazu-bimg 
(frying pan), sing kwo-sing (wash very clean), tsee who tay 
(fry ham), Ts'aw tan (scramble eggs), ha tay-tsz (set the table), 
cK uh-van (eat rice). 

He bolted down the latlder at a dangerous speed, and we 
followed to see if his actions indicaced that he understood the 
order. We had the pleasure of congratulating each other, for 
he executed the order to the letter. We took courage. I think 
I hear you say that must have been an intelligent cook to com- 
prehend such an order. Well, his name, Tsih kw'ay (seventh 
son, or literally, the seven.ii slice), may, to some, indicate in- 

With the aid of an English-Chinese dictionary we were able 
to find the words for fish, fowl, mutton, also for some veg- 
etables, and for buy. By pointing to these words in the dic- 
tionary we managed in our orders to substitute one or other 
of these articles for ham, and so varied our diet a little. 

I ate, and enjoyed for some time, what I supposed was oriental 
mutton, before I discovered that it was goat meat; for in the 
dictionary the same character is used for goat and sheep; and, 
as the Chinese in this part of the empire eat only the former, 
my cook naturally supposed that T wanted what other people 

Rev. Mr. Syle called occasionally to see if we needed any 
help. It was refreshing' to see his jovial face, for we usually 
had many questions jotted down ^o ask him about the lan- 
guage and other things. He was a great help to us and was 
really very kind. He secured for us a teacher, for our first 
great work was to learn the language. This was a sleepy- 
headed old man, whose name was Ting (a nail). He knew 
nothing about teaching a foreigner how to talk. He could 
teach the meaning of Chinese books, but we understood neither 
the characters in which the books v/ere written nor his expla- 
nation of them. 

In the absence of a gra-nmar, vocabulary, or anything else 
to assist us in learning the spoken language, the best we could 
do was to ply him with that king sentence, Te-ko-kiaw-sa? till 

52 Yates The Missionary. 

he must have been disgusted with foreigners who did not 
know how to talk. In this way we soon had the names of 
everything in and about the house written down. We soon 
stumbled upon the pronouns Ngoc> (I), A^oojig (You). And 
from Mr. Syle we got another sentence Te-ko-sa-yoong- 
dea (What is the use of this?) We could ask that question, but 
we could not understand the teacher's answer. And, as he did 
not know how to find a character in the foreign dictionary, we 
had no resource but to observe how things were done, and to 
inquire what certain motions or actions used in doing a thing 
were called. This was uphill work and a fruitful source of the 
most ludicrous mistakes. Of these we knew nothing for a 
long time, for the Chinese are too polite to tell you of, or to 
laugh at, your mistakes. 

It is very different now. A missionary arriving in Shanghai 
hereafter can never know the luxury ui roughing it or of digging 
for the language. In most instances, a missionary friend will 
know about the hour he is to arrive and meet him at the 
steamboat wharf and conduct him to his comfortable home. 
If he is a stranger, three runners from good hotels will, as soon 
as the steamer is made fast, present their cards and offer their 
services: "Carriage at the wharf, sir; go right up." And when 
he is rested and ready to commence the study of the language, 
he will find in English and Chinese "First Lessons in Chinese," 
grammars, and a great variety of books, including the Scriptures 
and many religious tracts in the Shanghai dialect, both in the 
Roman and Chinese characters. With these, and a will to fit 
himself for work, he ought to learn the spoken language in 
a much shorter time than we, who came earlier, were able to do. 

The » days of romance and personal adventure in the East 
are past. No one need hope now to immortalize himself bv 
imprisonment or hazardous adventure. What is needed now is 
indefatigable evangelistic ivork and prayer without ceasing. 

Two weeks from the time of our arrival, September 25, 1847, 
Mr. and Mrs. Tobey arrived from Hong Kong, and moved into 
one corner of Yah-djaw-loong. Bi other Tobey, with glasses 
adjusted, moved about, with his head at an angle of two degrees, 
trying to see daylight over the high wall, and said but little. 

Yates The Missionary. 5j 

Being near-sighted, he probably could not see the evidences 
of the presence of ghosts. 

In the course of a few days we considered the matter and 
decided that Yah-djaw-loong would not accommodate the whole 
mission. As Mr. Shuck and his family were expected from 
Hong Kong in a few weeks (they arrived October 27, 1847), we 
resolved to abandon Yah-djaw-loong- at the end of the month, 
and take, for two years, the house ot the Austrian consul, which, 
meanwhile, had been vacated. 

The "First Lessons in Chinese," referred to above, is 
the title of a work subsequently prepared by Air. Yates. 
On February 22, 1882, Rev. W. S. Walker, who had ar- 
rived in China a few weeks before, wrote: 

Mr. Yates has done a good thing in writing a book called 
"First Lessons in Chinese." It has been of great service to me. 
It is a key to the whole language. By the use of it, one can 
learn in three months what would otherwise take a year. It 
justly deserves the esteem in which it is held by all missionaries 
in this province. 

Two letters which will be inserted here give some 
details which are not contained in the reminiscences, 
the first being to his parents: 

Shanghai, Oct. 15, 1847. 

Our room was, a little while ago. like a great barn. I have 
had to divide it up into rooms, bri-^k up the side, put malting 
on the floor, to cover up the fleas and dirt, and ceil overhead. 
Fortunately, we brought stoves from New York. The three 
cost there $30. Here they would have cost $80. Our house is 
situated nearly in the center of this great city. The Chinese 
treat us very kindly. 

Shanghai, Nov. i, 1847. 
To Rev S. G. O' Bryan:* 

The climate of Shanghai is much like that of North Carolina. 
Fires are now necessary for comfort. For coal we have to pay 
$10 per ton. Wood is much more costly. 

*AIr. O'Bryan was at that time a student for the ministry at 
Wake Forest College. 

54 Yates The Missionary. 

The streets of Shanghai are narrow, varying from three to 
six feet in width. They abound in fihh. I cannot describe it. 
The city is intersected by canals in every direction. Into these 
the people cast trash and tilth of all kinds. Twice a day these 
canals are filled with fresh water by the tide. Then the people 
get their drinking water, and we missionaries have to share it 
with them. We paid a man for a v/hile to bring water from 
the river, but we know now that he did not do it. 

These are intelligent people, and all that they need to make 
them a happy people is the gospel ot Christ. Can you not help 
us to give it to them? This is a short question. Ask God if 
it is not your duty? 

I have never once regret^^ed coming to China. I can assure 
you that we are happy here. 


BAD EYES AND GOOD EARS — 1 84/ -8 — AGE 28-9. 

HE Chinese language was described by John 
Wesley as an invention of the devil to keep 
Christianity out of China. This bnrrier has 

not kept missionaries out, but it has made their 

work difficult and has often betrayed them inio absurdi- 
ties of which they were innocently ignorant at the time. 

This puzzlesonie tongue has 44,700 characters in the 
standard dictionary. But there are, moreover, 700 dis- 
tinct sounds, to each of which is attached a soil of musi 
cal scale, ranging from an octave to an octave and a half, 
and giving a variety of tones which can only be detected 
by a nuisical ear. 

The tone is all-important. The same word may mean 
grasshopper, oar, elephant, mechanic, or pickles, accord- 
ing to the tone. A man is "a man" only when the cor- 
rect tone is given; when the tone is changed, he easily 
becomes a carrot or a nightingale. A missionary who 

Yates The Missionary. 55 

was trying- to tell of the goodness of the Heavenlv 
Father, omitted a necessary aspirate from the word for 
"heavenly," with the result that his word meanc "crazy," 
Cases have occurred in which Chinamen have remarked 
upon the similarity between English and Chinese, sup- 
posing that the missionary, who had been doi^ig his best 
in Chinese, had preached in English. 

In this difficult language Mr. Yates becanie so pro- 
ficient that he understood and spoke it as if iL had been 
his native tongue. Indeed, for many years before his 
death the Chinese used to say, "Yates is no foreigner; 
he is a Chinaman with his queue cut ofl." Dr. W. R. 
Lambuth, novv^ Mission Secretary of M. E. Church, 
South, who knew him intimately in China, sdys that a 
Chinaman, if his eyes were shut, could not distinguish 
between Yates' talk in Chinese and that of a native. 

The reasons for his exceptional attainmeir.s in the 
spoken language are not far to seek. The acuteness of 
his sense of hearing, his acquaintance with music, his 
unusually flexible voice, and the fact that thrcaicned loss 
of eyesight compelled him to mingle with the people and 
depend upon his ears, are probably the most n'iportant. 

The letters and extracts from the reminisccices which 
follow will tell the story of Mr. Yates' first experiences 
in mastering the language. The subjoined staiements of 
his fellow student, Dr. J. B. Solomon, furnish an intro- 
duction to them. 

The sense of hearing of Mr. Yates was more acute than that 
of any other man whom I have ever known. While his music 
class at Wake Forest were all singing together, he would de- 
tect the slightest discord and indicate, with unerring accuracy, 
the individual who had caused it. 

To this acuteness in the auditory nerve and delicacy of dis- 
crimination is doubtless due, in pait, his wonderful success in 
mastering the Chinese langiiage. 

He had a voice more musical, of wider compass, and more 
completely under control than that of any other man I have 
ever known. Soft, round, full, or tremulous at his will, it was 
melody itself. 

56 Yates The Missionary. 

I mention these things to indicate the natural endowments 
which fitted him, so far as such things go, for his mission to 

Mr. Yates' account of his earlier experiences shows 
that these endowments were of little avail in iiis efforts 
to learn the written language: 

Having secured comfortible quarters just without the city 
walls, where a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunlight were 
possible, we devoted ourselves to the study of the language, 
the character of the people, and the topography of the place 
and its environs. 

This period of hard study for a 3- ear or two was a sort of 
incubation, and was devoid of incidents except of a melancholy 
character. In addition to the study of the spoken language, I 
attempted also to learn ten characters a day, to get their names, 
component parts, and meanmgs, to write them from memory, 
and to keep up the back review. 

This proved to be too great a tax on mind and body. My 
optic nerve gave way, and my eyesight was virtually gone. My 
head seemed to be enlarged, and the many characters which I 
had learned seemed to be photographed on every object on 
which I cast my eye; and, whether 1 saw them in this way or 
in a book, the commingled forms caused my head to grow 
dizzy. After repeated rests and renewals of study, with the 
same results, my physician required me to give up the study of 
the Chinese classics or else abandon the missionary work. 

When tidings of the failure of Mr. Yates' eyesight 
reached Richmond, the Secretary of the Board wrote to 

If close confinement taxes your eyes, do not try to use them 
in study until the disease is entirely removed. But take much 
exercise, using your ears and your tongue in conversing with 
the people. You will thui be abk- to acquire the language 
more readily, especially the correct pronunciation of words. 

Mr. Yates' narrative continues: 

Yates The Missionary. 57 

I resolved to give up the study of the classics, to get the 
spoken language, and to devote my life to preaching. In pur- 
suance of^ this object, much of the time was spent among the 
people in the tea shops, listening to them as they talked, and 
asking and answering questions. In this way I learned the 
spoken language, in a great measure, by ear. As the result 
of rest and of a blister behind each ear every other day for 
nine months, my sight gradually returned. In consequence of 
this affliction, all' my literary work in Chinese has been done 
with the aid of an amanuensis. 

To give up the study of the Chinese classics was a sore trial, 
but I trust that was all for ihe best. For, having been forced to 
give the spoken language special attention, I have been able to 
use it with much greater ease and fluency, and have had many 
years of, I hope, useful labor. 

The more I know of the Chinese, the more I am impressed 
with the importance of reaching them by oral teaching. Their 
minds seem to have been run into a peculiar mould from their 
close study of their symbolic written characters, a medium which 
will not contain, unconta uinated with heathenism, the pure 
gospel of Christ. 

When a Chinaman, who understands books, attempts to read 
the gospels which have been translated into the symbolic char- 
acters — the ordinary book style — the meaning and force of which 
he knows perfectly well, there is a strong temptation to apply 
to them the ordinary meanings which have long since been 
indelibly impressed upon his memory, and thus lose the true 
character and point of the religious truth that is set forth 
therein. And the higher, and, consequently, more concise the 
style, the greater is the danger to the mass of readers of being 
led astray. 

In one year after the date of our arrival in Shanghai. I com- 
menced trj'ing to preach or talk to the people about Jesus as 
the Saviour of men, and about the folly of worshiping idols. 
We had no church or preaching place. To meet our immediate 
necessities, we converted into a chapel a vacant go-dozvn (ware- 
house) wliich belonged to the lot or which Rev. J. L. Shuck 
and I lived together. Mr. Fobey lived next door. We furnished 

c^S Yates The Missionary. 

this place with benches, without backs, fixed a table for a pulpit, 
cut a door in one side, and made a road through a bamboo 
grove to the street, where multitudes were passing all day 

We invited them to come in, but the}^ were shy, apprehending 
some danger. Our plan was for one to stand at the street 
gate to invite the people in, while another took a position be- 
hind the table. The duty of the latter was to commence talking 
as soon as there were two or three seated, in order to engage 
their attention; otherwise they would get frightened and bolt. 
For personal safely, they usually entered in groups of three or 

By degrees the number of those wdio were willing to risk 
the chances of being caught in a trap increased to fifty or more. 
The nevvs went abroad that we were good men and that we 
talked about morality. The people listened to our stammering 
addresses with eagerness, but it was the eagerness of appre- 
hension and curiosity. The meaning of what we were trying to 
say was to them of little consequence. They were interested 
and amused in hearing foreigners trying to talk their language. 

When I became better acquainted with the dialect, I knew 
that much of what we attempted to say in our earlier efforts 
was not intelligible. These efforts, however, were of great 
use to us as learners of the language. For he who does not use 
his Chinese as fast as he learns it will be apt to forget a large 
portion of what he has le;irned. It is a harp of a thousand 
strings, upon which much practice i^ necessary in order to at- 
tain proficiency. 

These meetings, too, were of great service in familiarizing 
the people with foreigners. They had a large amount of curi- 
osity that had to be gratified before they could give attention 
to the truths presented by us. When we went on the street, 
and more especially if the ladies were with us, the men stood 
and stared at us, and made remarks about us which excited 
laughter among their friends. We could see ahead of us a great 
commotion among the women; they were getting about as 
lively as they could on their little feet, in order to get their 
children out of harm's way. They slammed and bolted their 

Yates The Missionary. 59 

doors and then peeped through the cracks at us as we passed. 
They would scold their children for exposing themselves to 
barbarians, who would catch them, carry them away, and scoop 
out their eyes for medicine. 

This is the kind of education that the generation with whom 
we have had to do received in their youth. And they have 
faithfully handed it down; go where we will, in city or country, 
we hear the children calling out "quai-tss" (devil). The Chinese, 
in their intercourse with each other, seem to use this term to 
designate foreigners. 

Our entry into China was only four or five years after the 
opium war. In this the Chinese had been beaten by the English, 
and compelled to sign a treaty which opened five ports to 
foreign trade, and to pay a heavy indemnity to meet the ex- 
penses of the war. This will explain why they were feeling so 
strongly against all foreigners, for they make no distinction 
between nationalities. They said, ''Foreigners brought to our 
country the opium which is killing our people by thousands 
and is impoverishing all classes. This opium caused the war 
in which so many of our people were killed. Now they want to 
teach us a new religion. Let them first teach their own people." 

Thus, at the commencement of our work in Shanghai, we had 
to contend against a subdued but fo7"midable opposition. The 
government had been forced to sign the treaty, but the great 
mass of the people indulged their hatred to the full. They 
abused foreigners, called them vile names, and taught their 
children to do the same. All this hard feeling had to be over- 
come, and that, too, mainly by those foreigners who were able 
to speak Chinese. These were missionaries or the few 
interpreters connected with the several consulates. And the 
latter had intercourse almost exclusively with the official class. 

It was evident that a more perfect knowledge of the lan- 
guage was absolutely necessary before we could be able to 
talk freely on all subjects so as to correct false impressions as 
to the real objects of foreigners, and to secure a calm mind to 
listen to our message of salvation. Time, patience, and kind 
treatment on the part of missionaries led one and another to 
change their views. After a few years, the objects of foreigners 

6o Yates The Missionary. 

in coming to China became known to the majority of the people 
at the Five Ports, which had been opened by the treaty. They 
seemed to acquiesce; at any rate, they succumbed to the inev- 

But at interior cities and in regions where other dialects 
were spoken, the strongest conser\atism and even the most 
violent opposition to the presence of foreigners were maintained 
by all classes. We had to content ourselves, for a while, with 
work at the port of Shanghai, and an occasional, cautious visit 
to the nearest towns. 


AT WORK 1848 AGE 29. 

The reminiscences and letters contained in this chap- 
ter describe very vividly Mr. Yates' beginnings in actual 
and active missionary labor. 

After working in the "go-down" for several months, we 
thought that we could speak the language well enough to extend 
our operations and influence to other localities. Accordingly, 
after much difficulty in finding a who would consent to 
rent us a house in a suitable localit}. we succeeded in getting 
a place within the walls of the city. 

It was a double house, built around an open court, fifteen feet 
square. The Chinese call such a court an air-well. By putting 
a roof over this court, and removing the one brick partition 
which separated the rooms below stairs, we had a place that 
would seat several hundred persons. And, as the curiosity of 
the city people was great, we secured good audiences of re- 
spectable looking people, to whom wt preached daily. 

I cannot commend the church-going manners of the people. 
Some sat quietly and listened attentively; some smiled and 
walked about, inspecting what was to be seen; others, evidently 
displeased or disgusted with something they heard, got up and 
walked out. So the congregation was coming in and going out 

Yates The Missionary. 6i 

during the entire service, just as they were in the habit of doing 
in their heathen temples, or as people do in a North Carolina 
court house. 

It is quite likely that we sometimes said some things that 
were ludicrous, or even indelicate; for at that time I knew but 
little about the tones, and nothing at all about the aspirates of 
the language. 

Having secured a place within the city, we proceeded to in- 
quire for a lot on which to buiid a large church for the use of 
foreigners, the funds for this purpose having been collected by 
Rev. J. L. Shuck during his visit to the United States. We had 
the plans for a church with a spire i6o feet high. We procured 
a lot, but that spire proved an impossibility. No Chinaman 
could build it. Moreover, it would have destroyed the fung shui* 
of the entire city, and the builder would probably have lost his 

We did, however, succeed m erecting a so-called Gothic 
structure with a brick tower eigh:v feet high. And that, it 
was said, caused the death of the district magistrate, for it was 
due north — the point of evil influence — from the magistrate's 

The auditorium was sixty by forty feet, with broad galleries, 
baptistry and dressing roojns. Th- hall and galleries would 
seat about seven hundred persons. About 1861 it was burned 
and rebuilt, without galleries, by subscriptions made in Shang- 
hai. As It was the most conspicuous object in or about the 
city, of course, everybody must needs go to see the "bell tower," 
and it proved to be a great civilizer. 

We saw the house crowded from day to day for many months, 
when the weather was fine. It tooK three men to conduct a 
service in any sort of order. One stood at the street gate to 
invite the people to come in and be seated; otherwise many 
would not have dared to enter such a building. One was at 
the church door to be pohte to the people, invite them to be 
seated, and keep them quiec and in the church. Another stood 
in a raised pulpit, the obsei ved of a'l observers, and preached. 

*The term ftiug shut is used to express the propitious influence 
of the dead upon the welfare of the living. 

62 Yates The Missionary. 

Unless he made himself very interesting, good order was im- 
possible. The people would go out when they had seen what 
was to be seen. When they came out by the dozen and seemed 
detrmined to leave, the doorkeeper had to stand aside and in- 
vite them to come again. Others would soon take their places. 

Thus the waves of humanity, in stolid ignorance of God. 
surged in and out of our religious forum. Here, in our fierce 
conflict with the overwhelming odds of the powers of darkness, 
we tried to manage, instruct, and interest large audiences of 
people. And, especially when no doorkeeper could be present, 
it was necessary to be as bold as the lion, as wise as the ser- 
pent, as harmless as the dove. 

I remember preaching on one occasion to a full house, with- 
out a doorkeeper, when my skill was put to the test. 

During my sermon, when the audience seemed to be deeply 
interested, I touched upon the teachings of Confucius. There- 
upon a literary man rose to his feet, about fhe center of the 
church, and began to speak. In order to counteract the efifect 
of the point I had made against his cherished system, he com- 
menced repeating, from memory, portions of the Confucian 
Classics in the book style. This could not be understood by 
anyone who had not committed to memory those portions of 
the classics. 

When he took his seat, all eyes were turned upon me, for I 
had remained silent while he was talking. I saw at a glance 
that, although the people did not understand a word of what 
had been said, they knew that it was something from the sacred 
classics. I felt that it was necessary for me to meet this un- 
expected sally, or that what I had gained would be lost. 
I had not been out of college so long that I could not repeat 
some of the speeches which I had declaimed when a freshman. 
So I commenced, in English, with the familiar extract from 
Wirt's celebrated speech, * Who is Blennerhassett?" After de- 
claiming for a few minutes m the most approved style, I stopped 
and gazed at my man. All eyes were at once turned upon him 
inquisitively, as nmch as to say, "What have you to say to 
that?" After a moment's silence, he said, "Who can understand 
foreign talk?" I replied, "Who can understand Wenli (book- 

Yates The Missionary. 63 

style)? If you have anything to say let us have it in the spoken 
language, so that all can understand and be profited." "Yes," 
said many voices, '"speak so that w*- can all understand." He 
then attempted an argument, but it happened to be a point 
on which I was well posten. At a single stroke of my sledge 
hammer, he succumbed before the whole audience. This caused 
him to become much excited and a few of his friends came to 
him and said, "You can repeat books., but you cannot out-talk 
that foreigner. Come, let us have f. cup of tea and you will 
feel better." Thereupon he and his few friends left the church, 
but the people were pleased to remain with the victor. I then 
resumed and finished my service without further disturbance. 

During more than thirty years of labor, I have never met 
another violent opposer of the gospel. I have frequently had 
men to say during the service, "If the Christian religion is as 
pure as you say it is, why do you brmg opium here to kill us?" 
I have usually disposed of such questions by denouncing the 
traffic, disavowing all connection with it, and strongly urging 
all persons not to use the drug. 

On one occasion, when it was my lot to keep the door, and 
the lamented George Pearcy was preaching, instead of saying, 
as he intended, ngoo taw niung-tsz ("now I suppose"), he said,' 
ngoo fazo niang tss ("I have taken a wife"). It was mainly a 
mistake in aspiration. The audience laughed and became some- 
what boisterous, all crying out, "He has taken another wife." 
This so confused Mr. Pearcy that he called to me to know what 
was the matter. I said, "Never mind, you only made a slight 
mistake; go on quickly or you will lose your congregation." 

On another occasion I was keeping the door for Brother A. 
B. Cabaniss. He preached well, and was evidently interested 
in his subject. In closing, he told his audience that if they 
would repent and put their trust in Jesus Christ, when they 
died they would go into tien (a field) He intended to say, t'ien 
(heaven). An old farmer, who sat neai where I was, exclaimed. 
"Mg! (umph), I go into a field every day, and I am tired of it." 
Such are the tricks of the language. 

64 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, July 4, 1848. 
To Rev. Thomas JMercdith: 

Before this can reach you, you will have heard of the loss 
of our fellow laborers, Doctor and Mrs. James. They went 
down in the schooner Paradox, in sight of Hong Kong. This, 
to all human appearance, is a great loss to us and to the heathen. 

The population of Shanghai is estimated at 200,000.* About 
one half of the city is enclosed by a wall of granite and brick. 
This wall is about six miies in circumference, about twenty 
feet high, and eighteen feet thick. There are six gates, all 
of which are closed every night at an early hour. 

The streets of the city are very nanow, varying from three to 
seven feet in width; few, however, are more than six feet wide. 
These streets are crowded with human beings, and through 
them is carried, on men's shoulders, every kind of merchandise, 
large and small. Indeed, where water courses are not con- 
venient, this is the only means of transportation. 

The houses are built of wood and brick. They first put up 
a wooden framework, and then fill it with brick. When the 
house is completed, it presents the appearance of a brick build- 
ing. About half of the houses are two stories high. For roof- 
ing, a concavo-convex tile is generally used. 

Most of the public buildings of Shanghai are devoted to 
idolatrous worship. They are numerous and many of them are 
immense establishments. It is shocking to behold thousands, 
on their festival days, prostrating themselves before idols in 
these temples. 

God's Spirit alone can work a reformation among these peo- 
ple. The gospel must first be brought to bear on their con- 
sciences. To do this we must have men and means. Is there 
not another in North Carolina who is willing to take up his 
abode among the heathen of this great Empire? 

If my old friends wish to know how I feel noiv about the 
course of life that I have chosen, ycu can with all truth assure 
them that I do not regret becoming a missionary; that I am 

*Since this letter was written, the population of Shanghai has 
more than doubled. 

Yates The Missionary. 65 

not sorry that I am where I can point the heathen to the 
Lamb of God. 

The Son of God was looked upon as a madman when he came 
into the world to save simers, and so will those who try to 
imitate him ever be regarded by those who are not his disciples. 
Which of these two classes is really wise, the judgment day will 

Shanghai, Sept. 4, 1848. 
To Rev. Thomas Meredith: 

When the last mail left, I was too feeble to send you even a 
line. At that time, and for a month afterward I was ill and 
suffering. It takes a foreigner at least two years to learn what 
food he may safely eat, and to what extent he may expose him- 
self to the heat of the sun. 

We have free access to the vast population of the city of 
Shanghai, and of the towns and villages around. By means of 
religious books and native agency, we can have access to many 
millions. Soochow, the Oxford of China, is only thirty miles 
away. Hangchow, Nankin, two of the largest cities in China, 
and scores of towns and villages with population of from 
25,000 to 200,000 souls, are all accessible by water communica- 

The churches have long been praying that China might be 
opened. Have brethren thought what their prayers would cost 
them? Does not the fact that God has opened China in 
answer to prayer place the churches under obligations to occupy 
the ground and scatter far and wide the seed of the kingdom? 

Shanghai, Sept. 23, 1848. 
To Rev. Samuel Wait, D.D.: 

We have now been keeping house one year. During this 

time we have been wholly occupied in endeavoring to acquire 

the spoken language of this province. In my daily walks I 

distribute many religious books and tracts. Those who know 

something about the Chinese language say that we have made 

very respectable progress. We cannot speak for ourselves on 

this point. My first attempt to preach to the heathen from the 

pulpit was just twelve months from the date of my arrival. 


66 Yates The Missionary. 

My attempts to preach must, for the present, of course, be made 
in great weakness. A beginner in Chinese is usually allov/ed 
two years; but I feel that my position is a responsible one and 
that a very important commission has been committed to my 
charge; therefore, I cannot consent to remain silent or inactive. 

We have recently opened a preaching place on one of the 
most crowded streets of the city. It is opened every day and 
the congregations vary from two to four hundred in number. 

Mr. Tobey is compelled, by his wife's health, to return home. 
Cannot Wake Forest furnish a man to take his place? I trust 
that and will give themselves to foreign mis- 
sion work. Why should they not? Do they, as is the case with 
many, love their ease and comfort more than their Saviour and 
the souls of men? When will the young ministers of the present 
day learn to make more vigorous efforts to promote the glory 
of God than to advance their own glory among men? 

Could they behold the thousands who throng the streets of 
this heathen city, methinks their spiiits would be moved within 
them, and they would attempt to make known a Saviour's love, 
even though they could do nothing more than smite upon 
their breasts and point toward heaven. Ambitious aspirations 
would be subdued and they would be led to ask more frequently 
and earnestly, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" 

We are happy in our field of labor. We would not change 
places with any of those who think their positions to be stations 
of honor. 

Shanghai, October, 1848. 
To the Raleigh Association: 

Our new preaching place is called Kong-Say-Dong (Dis- 
coursing-book-hall). We have large congregations, all the seats 
frequently being filled with attentive listeners. I am only in the 
a-b, ab, of this crooked language; still, I assure you that it 
is a great, great pleasure co be able to do a little in the way 
of enlightening this vast multitude. 

Shanghai, Nov. 7, 1848. 
To his Father: 

Brother Shuck and I, with our families, are now left alone, 
as the only representatives of Southern Baptists, to contend 

Yates The Missionary. 67 

against the evils of idolatry in this most distant corner of the 
earth. But we are happy in the hope that the places of those 
who have left will soon he supplied. Brethren Pearcy and 
Johnson are now on their way from Canton to join us. 

I can assure you that I am happy in my field of labor, and I 
am still more happy in being able to take part in the public 
duties of a missionary. The work, indeed, is arduous; but it 
is not without encouragements. 

One man has expressed an earnest desire to become, as he 
says, a follower of Ya-soo (Jesus). He knows much of the 
gospel, but we are not yet satisfied ia regard to his conversion. 
You can form no idea of the darkness of a heathen's mind in 
respect to God and eternal things. It is worse than a blank. 
They think that after death their spirits go into some bird or 
animal, the spirit of a good-natured into a harmless animal, 
and the spirit of a bad man into a bird of prey or ferocious 
animal. Some think that the spirits o^ the dead fioat in the at- 
mosphere without a dwelling place. Hence they burn straw 
houses for them to live in, paper boxes for them to put their 
clothes in, and paper, silvered into the semblance of money, for 
them to buy food with. This is done for ancestors who have 
been dead for centuries. 

And yet, in spite of all their darkness, we trust that the Lord 
will bless bur efforts for their conversion. 

Shanghai, Nov. 18, 1848. 
To Rev. Thomas Meredith: 

IMost of my time for the last year has been spent in en- 
deavoring to catch the exact sound and tone of the words of 
this most difficult language. Of its difficulties I can at present 
give you no idea. Having made sufficient progress to take 
part in the public duties of a missionary, I will try to give 
you some idea of our mode of procedure. 

Besides our preaching service, foui* times a week, we open 
our large chapel at 11 o'clock on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thurs- 
days, and Saturdays for religious conversation and tract dis- 
tribution. This chapel is located on one of the finest and most 
crowded streets of the city. 

Brother Shuck and 1 or one of our two native preachers, in 

68 Yates The Missionary. 

turn, take seats in the chapel, in front of the door, by the side 
of a small Chinese table. On this are a few hundred religious 
tracts. Very soon two or three Chinese, attracted, perhaps, 
by curiosity, come in from the crowded street. They are in- 
vited to take seats. They then are asked if they worship idols, 
and if so, what idol. If they have heard missionaries preach 
before, many of them will say that they do not worship idols; 
that it is very bad to worship them. 

Then the missionary commences his work, by showing the 
uselessncss of worshiping idols, the work of men's hands, and 
commends, in their stead, the living God as the object of wor- 
ship. At the same time, a tract is presented, with the request 
that it be read and its contents considered. Among the tracts 
available for such use are "The Ten Commandments, With 
Commentary," "Jesus, the Only Saviour," "Are You Afraid 
To Die?" "An Address to the People of Shanghai," which 
gives our names, our country, our object in coming to China, 
and a summary of the Christian religion. 

When the first leave, others entei. An hour or two, thus 
spent, are full of interest to the young missionary. In every 
group there are always to be found some who will listen with 
apparent interest to the gospel of Christ. The majority, how- 
ever, while glad to receive the foreign made books, care noth- 
ing for these things. I have had men to step up to me in the 
midst of a most pointed address and, with an air of indifference, 
say, "Your coat is made of very fiue cloth; how much did it 
cost in your country?" In spite of these dampers, I feel en- 
couraged so long as I have even a few attentive listeners. We 
can only sow the good seed and pray that it may fall into good 

Yates The MrsiiioNARY. 69 



The reminiscences and letters contained in this chap- 
ter tell, amono^ other things, of Mr. Yates' earliest ex- 
cursions into the interior. 

Shanghai being a great emporium of trade— the seaport of 
Central China— merchants i^om diffeicnt provinces concentrated 
here for trade. These men came to see us, came to our chapel, 
and. on suitable occasions, talked freely with us. In the course 
of time they began to hold more intelligent views about us. 
And their reports, when they returned to their homes, imparted 
information and removed prejudice. A sight of the foreign- 
made articles carried home by these merchants was a proof 
that the hated foreigner was far in advance of the Chinese. 

In this way, calmer and more reasonable views were adopted 
by the mass of the people; but the officials and the literati, 
who hope to succeed the officials, maintained their opposition 
tor a long time. Even to this day there is a subdued opposition 
among the official class. 

When we take into account the fac^ that there were no news- 
papers for shaping and unifying public sentiment, everything 
having to pass from mouth to mouth, and therefore liable to be 
distorted, the results achieved seem very great. The patient 
work of subduing the violent opposition of the millions of this 
great Empire to such a degree that missionaries can and do 
travel and preach the gospel in every province but one, has 
wrought one of the grandest triumphs of modern missionary 
enterprise. The people have not embraced the gospel, for but 
few of them, comparatively, have heard it; but the way has been 
opened for them to hear it. 

For years our work was in the dark, for we did not know 
whether we were understood or not In ordinary matters, we 


Vates The Missionary. 

could judge by the actions of those with whom we conversed; 
but in spiritual matters, wc could have no such proof. They 
said that they understood us; but that was no proof. 

Well, there was nothing left for u^ to do but to continue to 
preach to the best of our ability and to leave the result with 

In the summer of 1849, we had our first experience of a 
typhoon {Tai-fuiig, great wind). Jt caused this whole region 
to be flooded for a hundred miles inland to a depth of several 
feet. In the interior the standing \Aater remained for months, 
causing a complete destruction of the rice crop and, conse- 
quently, a famine. Thousands of famine-stricken poor resorted 
to and were supported bv foreigners. And, as sys- 
tem was observed in this charity, it was found that a Chinaman 
could be supported on two jents a day. 

As Shanghai was the port from which grain was brought 
from other ports of China, thousards of traders came to the 
city at that time of unusual demand, both to sell and buy. The 
foreign settlement, without the city, and the bell-tower, within 
the city, being the objects of greatest attraction to these vis- 
itors, we met and preached to many of them. We talked freely 
on many subjects. Our. religion th'-y did not understand, and 
it was evident that they did not have much reverence for their 
own systems. They were simply curious. And, as we were 
civil to them, some of them invited rs to go to their places and 
preach; not that they were at all interested in the gospel mes- 
sage, but they thought it vvould afitord innocent amusement to 
the people of their towns These had never seen foreigners, 
but had heard strange stories about them. 

We therefore began to make short excursions to the nearest 
interior towns. An elephant caparisoned in the grandest style 
of an oriental prince would not have excited more curiosity 
than our boat did, as wc passed by towns and villages. By some 
means, the news of our coming went ahead of us, and when we 
approached a village or town wc found the banks of the canal 
and the fine stone bridges crowded with gazers; men, women, 
and children. 

Wc were not long in finding out that the wisest policy, to 

Yates The Missionary. 71 

avoid being stoned out, to stand on the bow of the boat, 
so that all could have a full-length view. What was more sat- 
isfactory was to stop the boat and go on shore, where all could 
have the full gratification of a near approach to and a thorough 
examination of the Western man, wh. . was supposed to be hairy, 
hke a horse. Under these circumstances, it was necessary to 
command the crowd; and the only way to do this was to speak 
to them— get the floor and keep it— till I was ready to return 
to my boat, and then leave immediately. 

In carrying out this expedient, to preserve order and prevent 
a riot, I addressed myself to the more intelligent and thoughtful 
looking of the spectators mi front of me; while at my sides 
and back as many as could get to me were deeply interested in 
examining my clothes and pulling uo the legs of my trousers to 
see if my legs were really covered with hair like the legs of a 
horse. While thus engaged, they were warned by their friends 
of the danger of being kicked. I have heard them reply to this 
warning, "Why, he is not like a horse at all; his skin is whiter 
and smoother than ours. We have been deceived in buying 
those hairy pictures." They had a:, impression, too, that a 
foreigner's legs were stiff, having no knee joints. One exami- 
nation by a dozen persons was suffxient to inform and satisfy 
a town or large region of country. Word was passed from one 
to another that the foreigner was l.-ke themselves, except that 
he wore no queue and ate his rice diflferently. They were more 
than anxious to see us take our meals. 

As may readily be imagined, we preached under difficulties 
m these early excursions. A large amount of curiosity had to 
be gratified before we found it possible to get access to their 
mmds. And this is the first missionary work that has to be 
done, even now, in a strange locality. It was only after giving 
this sort of exhibition several times at a place, that we had a 
chance to preach to an attentive audience. Even then it was 
necessary to request two or three peisons to keep barking dogs 
away. & s 

It is a depressing thought that it takes a long time, in a 
strange locality, for Chinamen to hear what a foreigner is say- 
ing. They may understand each word that he utters, but, not 

^2 Yates The Missionary. 

apprehending what is the subject th?.t he is talking about, and 
their minds not being accustomed to thinking, they do not 
leave old ruts very easily. 

An incident which occurred after the time of which I am 
writing illustrates this point. In the British Court at Shanghai 
I had been asked to interpret the testimony of some Chinese 
witnesses in a murder case. I asked the first witness, a common 
countryman, the question propounded by the counsel for the 
plaintitif. The witness replied, "I do not understand foreign 
talk." I asked the same question a second time and received 
the same answer. There was a slight commotion in the court; 
the judge and other foreigners seemed to be enjoying my 
dilemma. I asked the judge to allow me to enter into a little 
conversation with the witness on my own account, in order to 
convince him that I was speaking Chinese. Permission having 
been given, I asked my man if he had eaten his rice. "Yes," 
he replied. "Where do you live?" said I. He told me. "How 
many children have you?" "Why," he exclaimed, "you speak 
Chinese!" "Certainly; now do not be alarmed. I want you 
to tell me what you know about thir murder." I then said to 
the judge, "The witness understand- Chinese now." There was 
no further trouble. The man answered every question that 
was put to him. His mind had to be aroused.* 

And so it is with the masses m regard to our message. They 
can hear sermon after sermon, at first, without apprehending at 
all the subject presented to them. 

When, therefore, I appear before •! strange audience, I com- 
mence with some familiar conversation in order that they may 
understand that I am talking to them in their own language and 
about something that they can understand. I then tell them 
what I am going to talk about and try to make them see that 

*Readers who may happen to be interested in psychology 
will recognize in this incident an excellent illustration of the 
effect of "The Summation of Stimuli." Cf. Fowler, quoted by 
Prof. James: Psych. Vol. 1, p. 85. "The first question to a 
peasant seldom proves more than a flapper to arouse the torpid 
adjustments of his ears. A second or even a third may be re- 
quired to elicit an answer. 

Yates The Missionary. 73 

it is a matter in which all should lee! an interest. After thus 
placing myself in accord with my hearers, I repeat a text or a 
theme for their consideration, and talk about it in a style 
suitable for a Sunday school class. Indeed, in religious knowl- 
edge, the Chinese are only children. The speaker will soon 
discover the few who are able or willing to follow him. When 
he sees that his hearers have become inattentive, he must arrest 
attention by a sudden change or some other device, or he 
will soon lose his congregation. The preacher in China must 
keep two objects before his mind. One is to interest, and the 
other to instruct his hearers. 

During a visit to T'ien-tsin, I bed a long and interesting 
conversation with a learned man fiom one of the provinces, 
who, with more than three hundred others, on their way back 
from the han-Un (examinations at Pekin), were passengers for 
Shanghai. This was much later than 1849, but the conversation 
will throw some light on the state of mind of an intelligent 

As the steamer lay at the wharf at T'ien-tsin, this scholar, a 
man of very commanding uppearance, came to me as I sat on 
deck and said, 'T hear that there is a great man on board, one 
who knows Chinese and everything else." I replied, in Chinese, 
''You must ha\e been wrongly informed, as I have never seen 
such a man. Is he a Chinaman or a foreigner?" "Oh," said 
he, "he is a foreigner, and you must be the man, for I was 
told that he was a long man and that I would find him on the 
poop deck. Do not be diffident, for I come to be instructed by 
you." "Well," I replied, "take a seat; if it is in my power, I 
shall be too happy to answer any question that you may have 
to propound." 

He and several of his friends drew close to me and he asked, 
"Why is it that the Chinese cannot think out things like you 
foreigners?" I said, "Please be more particular; what things do 
you mean?" "Well," he replied, "here is this steamer and her 
perfectly incomprehensible engine, the telegraph, machinery for 
making cloth, astronomy, and such like things; what is it that 
prevents us Chinese from thinking out such things?" 

"I think I can answer you," sai<J I, "but you will not be 

y^. Yatfs The Missionary. 

pleased with my reply. The hindering cause is your IVen-li, the 
very instrument with which you have been striving at Pekin, in 
the hope of rising higher. This has been the chief cause of the 
mental inactivity which has kept you Chinese from thinking 
out and originating anything new for more than two thousand 

Surprised, and deeply interested, he exclaimed, "How can 
that be?" 

I continued. '"God. who created man in his own image, en- 
dowed him with a mind capable of discovering and compre- 
hending the laws of nature. We foreigners, by thinking, by 
analysis, and by combination, havr; discovered some of these 
laws. We have learned how to multiply power by the use of 
machinery and how to apply this increased power to useful 
purposes. We can send messages fifteen thousand miles to the 
United States and to-morrow we ca'i have our answer. And we 
have just now commenced, by means of electricity, to talk with 
each other, though many miles apart, and to light our houses 
and streets brilliantly. All this is the result of original thinking; 
and, believing that we have just enteied on the field of discovery, 
we are constantly looking ahead and seeking something new 
and useful. 

"But you Chinese are not allowed to think. Your system of 
education is a bar to all thought and originality. By it your 
minds are fettered from your youth up as effectually as are the 
feet of your sisters. From the time you commence to study, the 
only duty that your minds have beei'. called upon to perform 
has been to commit to memory the words and thoughts of 
others. Your whole life — and you are now fifty years old — has 
been devoted to the endeavor to imitate, in thought and style, 
your ancient sage, Confucius. Your ambition now prompts you to 
seek the highest degree, that of a han-lin. In all this you have 
been a mere copyist, and have looked backward more than two 
thousand years to your model. Hence, in the scale of civiliza- 
tion, yuu Chinese are just where you were two thousand years 
ago. 7\nd, let me tell you, unless you change your system of 
education, abandon the worship of ancestors — the greatest bar 
to innovations — and realize that you have minds capable of 

Yates The Mts-tonary. 75 

thinking as well as other people, yon will remain just as you 
are, and never rise above the rank of imitators." 

The man rose in an excited manner and posed himself be- 
fore me and said, "Every word tha.. you have spoken is true, 
and now I see it. Why could I not see it before?" I replied, 
"Because you did not think, your system did not allow 3^ou to 
think." "And can you tell me how we are to be liberated?" 
"Yes," said I, "if you and your friends here have the courage 
to brook opposition and ridicule. You say ihat you see the 
light. Each of you can go and convince your friends; they, in 
turn, can convince their friends; thus you will soon have a 
community strong enough to be independent." He thanked me 
and retired, saying, "We will have more talk to-morrow." 

The next day the boat was at sea and I supposed that he v/as 
seasick, for I did not see him again before we reached Che/oo, 
where I left the boat. 

Ihe letter vdiich follows was written bv Mrs. Y'ates. 
and was intended especially to interest clii'ldrL^n. In the 
latter part of it, reference is made, of coin-se, (,nlv to the 
lower classes of the Chinese. 

Shanghai. May 15, 1849. 

The country is almost a perfect level, and almost every acre 
is cultivated. There are no fences but each man's land is 
divided from his neighbor's by a lidge of earth a few inches 
high and about a foot wide. These ridges also serve for foot- 
paths. Those who cultivate the land are poor, living in small, 
low houses, built of brick and having no fioor but the ground. 

One almost wonders that the word clean is found in the 
Chinese language. The beaches and tables in their houses are 
covered with an unsightly varnish of dirt and grease. Nor does 
It stop there; one might literally scrape the dirt from the faces 
and necks of the inmates. Their clothing, though swarming 
with insects, is seldom changed, an6, when washed, it is only 
dabbed a little in cold water. And then their food! I speak 
the truth when I say that I should prefer to eat what I have seen 
prepared for pigs in North Carolina sc far as cleanliness goes. 

^6 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, July 13. 1849. 
To Rev. Thomas Meredith: 

I have suffered much froa partial paralysis of the optic nerve, 
and have been threatened with eniue loss of my sight, but, 
through the mercy of God, I am now quite restored. 

During the last six weeks there has been an almost incessant 
fall of rain. The crops in this vast and fertile plain are all 
from one to six feet under water, an^' the people are threatened 
with famine. The mandarins (of^cials) have taken steps to stop 
the rain. They say that the gods are enraged and that some- 
thing must be done to appease their wrath. They have repaired 
to their great temples to worship their gods of wood and stone; 
but the rain continues to fall. 

In my ramblings two days ago I chanced to come upon four 
men who had been called upon by the priests to look after the 
comfort of three idols. These unsightly images had been taken 
down and placed on the floor, that an exceedingly thick coat of 
mould might be removed from theii royal faces as well as 
from their garments. A multitude of people were at the same 
time in the front part of the temple woishiping these idols, which 
could not protect themselves fromi a small leak. 

We have reason to be encouraged in our work. Three en- 
quirers have come before our church and will doubtless receive 
baptism in a little while. Our regulai services are well attended 
and the gospel is listened to with apparent interest. 

One of Mr. Yates' colleagues in China say that dur- 
ing the famine referred to in this letter and elsewhere in 
this chapter: 

Chinese merchants entrusted hundreds of dollars to him to be 
distributed according to his judgment, saying that they dared 
not trust the money to their own people, mandarins, and relief 
committees, but knew that Dr. Yate^ would do the best. 

He was a man of affairs rather than of books. His practical 
common sense and business sagacity suited the practical Chinese. 

Shanghai, Septeml)cr. 1849. 
A little to the north of Mr. Shuclr's dwelling, near a beautiful 
grove, is a quiet pond. On its surface, in the early morning, 

Yates The Missionary. 'j'j 

were reflected the shadows of the trees, as they were gently 
moved by the summer breeze. A little band stood near this 
pond, attracting the attention of 'A\ the passers-by. Many 
stopped and looked on in silent amazement. The pastor of the 
little Baptist Church in Shanghai went down into the water and 
baptized three of their countrymen. This is the first administra- 
tion of baptism at this great heathen city. 

These three were the first fruits. One of ihe candi- 
dates, a young man, was disowned by Ins family after his 
rejection of the gods of China. He was encouraged by 
the missionaries to learn the art of cutting blocks for 
printing as a means of support. Having become pro- 
ficient in this work, he afterwards rendered valuable ser- 
vice to the Baptist and other missions in Shanghai. 


A LONG, STEADY PULL 185O-1852 AGE 3I-33. 

The extracts in this chapter from Mr. Yates' remi- 
niscences and letters reveal the growing enthusiasm and 
untiring activity of the missionary. 

In 1850 or 185 1, I met in my itinerant work an interesting 
man, a tea merchant from an interior province, on his way to 
Shanghai. I invited him to call at my house and to come to 
my church. Soon after my return home, he, having sold his tea, 
called at my house. 

I had repeated interviews with him. His frequent attendance 
at my church showed that his attention had been arrested. 
When about to return to his home he called to thank me for 
my attentions. I presented him with a copy of the New Tes- 
tament, in Chinese, and several tracts. 

My prayers followed that man. The next year, when he came 
to Shanghai, with his new tea, he called on me and, in an ex- 
cited state of mind, gave me a history of that New Testament. 

-8 Yates The Missionary. 

He said that his home was in a citv within an amphitheatre of 
lofty mountains; that the only means of ingress or egress were 
two natural tunnels; that all the tea produced within this circle 
of mountains had to l)c brought ou: through these tunnels on 
men's shoulders; that there was a large population in the cities 
and towns within, who knew absolutely nothing of the outside 
world except what they got from books and the reports of 
merchants; that when, on his return, be produced the Testament, 
the i)eople devoured it and said that it was a great and good 
book, and that Confucius must have had access to it; that in 
order to secure more copies, they had taken off the binding and 
distributed the leaves among many writers to copy, until they 
had sixteen copies of the whole Testament, and many copies of 
portions of it; that the book had been introduced into their 
schools as a text book. 

He said, moreover, that they had discovered from the study 
of the book that there was another and oldei volume, and that 
they had instructed him to oe sure to apply for the other volume 
of sacred classics. This I gave him in two volumes. He urged 
me to go home with him and preach to the people of "the in- 
side world," and I was strongly inclined to do so, but the 
ominous roar of the thunder of civil war warned me to wait 
for more peaceful times. 

The Tai-ping rebellion had broken out and I sought to dis- 
suade my friend from attempting to return until we could have 
definite information as to whether he could safely do so. But 
though he had a large amount of silver with him and feared 
robbers, he insisted on starling homi ward. 

As he never returned, he was probably robbed and murdered, 
or fell into the hands of Rebels. In the confusion which ensued 
when the Rebels approached Shanghai, I lost the memorandum 
which he had given me of his name and city. Hence I have 
never been able to follow up and direct the work begun by that 

Nearly fifty years have elapsed since that little Chinese 
Testament started on its inland mission. That the his- 
tory of its influence, direct or indirect, will e er be dis- 
closed in this world is highly improbable. But it is pleas- 

Yates The Missionary. 79 

?nt to imagine that some of the liarvests of winch we are 
now hearing may perchance have sprung rrom seed 
scattered by pioneer planters. For we are now told thai 
last year (1896) twenty thousand Chinese in a single 
province (Fukien) applied for membership in evangeli- 
cal Christian churches. 

In China, as elsewhere, we sometimes meet a man or woman 
whose heart seems to have been prepared for the reception of 
divine truth. A year or two later I met a literary man of note 
from the Chinkiang Province. Aftei hearing me preach, he 
came up to me and said, "I have long been seeking a rehgion 
which would satisfy the cravings of my heart, give rest to my dis- 
turbed mind, and inspire me with cheerful hope for the future. 
The religion of Jesus seems to meet my case. Can you furnish 
me with a book which contains all tic religion of Jesus?" 

I gave him a copy of the New Testament, and he devoured 
it day and night. In a few days he called and informed me that 
he had read the entire book and kneu its contents. I was sur- 
prised to find that he could repeat whole chapters. 

He heartily embraced the Christian religion, having cast away 
every vestige of his old system, and, in accordance with his wish, 
I baptized him. He was full of jo> and comfort, and delighted 
to dwell on the liberty of the gospel, saying that all his life he 
had been in bondage. 

Some years afterwards, when the rebellion was over, I visited 
his place, and found that the powers of darkness had compelled 
him to hide his light under a bushel. On his return home he 
began to teach his new r-^ligion. This gave such offense to 
his patrons that they threatened to withdraw their patronage 
unless he should desist. He was a teacher of young men who 
were preparing for the literary examinations. As he had no 
other means of supporting his family, he yielded to their de- 
mands. He said to me that it was \ield or starve, but that his 
own trust was in Jesus, and that he should die in the faith. I 
have since heard of his death. 

No one in a Christian land can appreciate the trials of a lone 
believer living in a Chinese heathen city twenty-five years ago. 
It is better now. 

8o Yates The MissiOxXary. 

During the year 1850, Mr. Yates again suffered greatly 
Irom the condition of his eyes. He could neitiier study, 
nor read, nor write. ]jut his faithful wife read to him, 
and his letters for this year were penned by her hand at 
his dictation. He was not prevented, however, from 
oreachinp- constantly. And it was a vear of marked 
progress in his knowledge of the language and of the 


Shanghai, May 6, 1850. 

Are there not young men in the Southern churches whose 
hearts glow with love to the Saviour and melt with compassion 
for the heathen? I would ask them upon what grounds they 
have decided that it is not their duty to consecrate themselves 
to this work. And I would beseech them to be certain that the 
arguments with which they have l:een hushing the voice of 
conscience will stand the test of the final judgment. Where is 

, whom I knew at Wake Torest College, and whose 

energy of character is so well suited to missionary life? 

Lord Jesus, lover of souls, director of spirits, conqueror of 
hearts, choose thine own instruments, prepare thine own 
weapons, open to some understandings the glory of this work 
among the heathen, touch some hearts with the invisible con- 
straints of thy dying love. 

Shanghai, Nov. 13, 1850. 

From Mrs. Yates to Rev. J. B. Ta\]or: 

A week ago Mr. Yates lett for Ningpo, where, by the advice 
of our physician, he proposes to remain a month. 

He had become very thin and weak and, so long as he re- 
mained here, it seemed quite impossible for him to refrain from 
work. He was constantly restless and unhappy because he 
could do no more; but we hope th^J the change of scene and 
entire cessation from work will restcie him. 

Shanghai, Jan. 20, 185 1. 
I spent the day in preaching and teaching till nine o'clock at 
night, when I returned to my boat with a heavy heart, feeling 
more sensibly than I had ever done before the impotency of 
an arm of flesh and our utter dependence on the aid of the Holy 
Spirit for success among these people. 

Yates The MibSiONARY. 8i 

And yet there is much that is encouraging. We have free access 
to the people; our services are well attended; our preaching is 
heard with attention; the truths of the gospel are being diffused 
far and wide. 

But the everlasting promise that Christ shall reign over all 
the earth is the missionary's sure foundation. Here he rests 
his hopes, and labors on with the confident belief that, even if 
not in his day, Christ will reign in this and every land. 

Only let the people of God be united, active, faithful, patient, 
and of good courage, and the cause must trhiniph. 

Referring to Oo-kah-jach, the outstation of che Shang- 
hai mission, a visit to which is now described by Mr. 
Yates, Rev. J. L. Shuck wrote: 

The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Con- 
vention was the first Protestant Board in the world who ever 
held property and gained a permanent footing in the interior 
of China. 

Shanghai, March 13, 185 1. 

Last Sabbath morning at 9 o'clock I left Shanghai, on foot, 
to visit our out-station. The weather was fine, the roads in 
good order, the wind bracing, and I found it pleasant walking. 
The ferry boat over the Whampoo Eiver was crowded with pas- 
sengers. To these I spoke of Christ and salvation during the 
half hour required for crossing. 

The people all along the way were affable, often asking me to 
stop and rest. At 11 o'clock, being somewhat fatigued, I 
stopped in a tea shop to rest. Soon I was surrounded by a 
crowd of men, women, and children. They were clamorous for 
books and wanted to hear me preach. I told them that if they 
would keep quiet and give me their attention, I would preach 
to them. They became silent and i stood in their midst and 
preached to them Christ as the Saviour of the world. 

About 12 o'clock I reached Oo-Kah-Jach. After a few 
minutes of rest, I preached to a good congregation in our 
school room. Then I took some lunch and conversed freely 
for an hour with those who were coming and going. 

S2 Yates The Missionary. 

At 2:30 I left. On my way home J preached in four villages. 
A little before dark I found myself back in Shanghai, somewhat 
fatigued, but much gratified with my visit, having walked twelve 
or fourteen miles, preached six times, and distributed four 
hundred tracts. 

The friendliness and simplicity of the people lead us to hope 
that the seed that we are now sowing will bring forth a rich 
harvest. We sometimes make journeys of several days into the 
interior, by means of the canals, v/hich intersect the country 
in every possible direction. On arriving at a city or a town, 
we usually repair to the principal temple, and there, standing 
before the chief idol, we tell the multitudes, as Paul did the 
men of Athens, of the living God. 

In the towns there is an eager demand for our books, but a 
large proportion of the country people cannot read. It is a rare 
thing to find a woman who can read. 

In another letter, referring to this "eager demand for 
our books," Mr. Yates wrote: 

So great is the press as, in our boats, we go along the canals 
around and through the cities, that we can only put a tract 
or a book on the end of a long pole and hand it to the people 
on the banks. Thus we spread knowledge, and from our boats 
we preach Jesus. Often the crowd would become so great that 
we have to move ofT some distance to another place. 

It is truly a privilege to labor for Christ among the heathen. 
I would not change my place for any in the gift of men. I am 
thankful that I am here and that I can, to some extent, speak 
the language of the people. 

The house mentioned below was a substantial dwelling 
which had recently been erected on land purchased for 
the Mission. It was outside the walls and within three 
hundred feet of the great north gate. On the same lot 
were another dwelling, a chapel, and a school house. 
All these, though rebuilt and enlarged, as will be seen in 
due time, are still used by the Shanghai Mission. 

Shanghai, Sept. 8, 1851. 
I have now a comfortable house imd am sure that it will add 

Sung Way Dong (Baptist CnuKeii i^ uAri,i,). in kaki.v 50's. 

Yates The Missionary. 83 

much to my comfort and efficiency for, before, I was never 
without anxiety for the comfort of my family. 

Chinese have often asked me why I did not preach at Sung- 
Way-Dong at night, stating that thei" business would not allow 
them to attend in the day. So I have begun night services 
twice a week, and have large and attentive congregations. But 
the work of^the Holy Spirit is not manifested. 

Shanghai, Oct. 3, 1851. 

I have had an interview with Dr. Lockhart, in which I asked 
his opinion about resuming my studies. He most positively 
forbade it, stating that, as my physician, he could not give his 
consent that I should engage in any more hard study. He 
added that he was on the eve of sending me home last summer, 
and that he was certain that, if I began hard study again, I 
should have to leave the field in six months. 

Then, in a most flattering manner, he said that it was acknowl- 
edged by both foreigners and natives that I had an extraordi- 
nary capacity for "lingo," such as no one else in China had, and 
that it was my duty to use it, confining my whole attention to 
preaching. I shall follow his advice, at least for some time. 

In alluding to this interview, I have necessarily been com- 
pelled to make myself prominent. Bui I could not avoid it and, 
at the same time, enable you to understand my position. 

On November 21st, the Mission was bereaved bv the 
death of Mrs. J. L. Shuck. 

T^ T? ^ ^^r ^ u Shanghai, Dec. 18, 1851. 

lo Rev. T. W. Tobey: 

Our Mission has sustained a heavy loss by the death of Sister 

The loss of a wife or a fellow-labcier in America is not what 
It IS m this far-oiif land of moral daikness! Oh, the night • the 

This day, five years ago, there were in Richmond, or expected 
there, Shuck, Tobey, and I, with our wives, and Johnson and 
James— eight laborers for China. Now, where are they? John- 
son, Tobey and his wife have been driven from the field; James 
and his wife lie beneath the waves; Shuck is crushed' to the 

84 Yates The Missionary. 

earth, and his wife is in her grave. My wife and I are the 
only unbroken family left of that little band. 

How mysterious are the providences of God, and how w^ell 
that we cannot know them, flow fortunate that we are to live 
by faith in the Son of God. 

Shanghai, Feb. 5, 1852. 
To Rev. T. W. Tobey: 

This forenoon I had a visit from Yaw-sz-ya, the assistant of 
the magistrate of this district, flis intercourse with foreigners 
has been confined to official inter-^;ews with foreign consuls. 
On these occasions, the strictest etiquette has been observed, 
and he could not conceive that any foreigner would meet and 
converse with him or other Chinese officials on friendly terms. 
My teacher, who is intimate with Km, assured him that he was 
entirely mistaken. So he ventured to call and, after no little 
dispute as to which should take the seat of honor, I managed to 
get him seated in his proper place. 

He was quite affable and, as is usually the case with intelli- 
gent Chinese, very inquisitive. During our conversation I en- 
deavored to impress his mind with thr- importance of the gospel 
of Christ, though, I fear, with little success. When he took 
his leave, he appeared to hi much gratified with his short visit. 
I made myself as agreeable as I could, though he knocked the 
bottom out of his pipe two or three times upon my floor. But 
he did not mean to be impolite. 

February 6. — The favorable report made by Mr. Yaw of his 
visit yesterday was the cause of our having another distinguished 
visitor to-day, in the person of the private secretary of the 
Tautai, the highest officer in this region. Finding that we were 
not engaged in trade, he made many inquiries as to the pur- 
pose of our visit to China. I told him that our business was 
to preach the gospel of Christ to this people. He then asked 
me what was the object of the gospel. I told' him that it was 
to turn men from wickedness — in a word, to make them good. 
"And do you give them money in order to accomplish this?" 
said he. "No, we do not give then, money; we expect to ac- 
complish it by moral suasion." "Ah," replied he, "we have 
tried by argument and beating to get these people to obey our 

Yates The Missionary. 85 

laws. We have tried in vain, and if you do not pay them, how 
can you expect to change them?" 

February 12. — This is a ;?reat day witli the Chinese, being the 
day on which they send their kitchen gods to render their 
annual account to the chie-! of the celestial gods. On this day 
old Chaw-Cvvin (made of paper) is taken from his seat amid 
the smoke and soot (and U^oking none the better for it), and 
placed on a table. Before him are placed lighted candles and 
dishes of delicacies for his refreshment before his exit. While 
in this position, each member of the family bows before him. 
begging him to tso-mch (cover up). Lest he should not comply, 
they set before him a peculiar kind of candy, the object of 
which is to cause his lips to stick together and prevent him 
from revealing the real state of the household. They also give 
him two kinds of fruit, s2-ko (yes), and peh-ko (no), thus allow- 
ing him, while in the presence of his majesty, to say only "yes" 
and "no." 

All this foolery being ended, they put him in a paper sedan, 
well crammed with other paper, and set fire to it. Thus, amid 
firing of crackers, he is dispatched in a volume of smoke. On 
the fifteenth of their first month (March 7th), they procure a 
new kitchen god for the next year. 

Shanghai, June 24, 1852. 
To the Raleigh Association: 

I doubt not that there are churches in your body which, 
though the gospel has been faithfully preached to them, have 
had no additions during the past year. You must not be dis- 
couraged, therefore, to learn that this, your distant branch or 
member, has had no additions this year by baptism from among 
the natives. And yet we are encouraged to labor on, though 
tlie blessing be delayed. We shall certainly reap, if we faint 
nut. The lamented Judson labore.J for years in India for his 
first convert. Now there are thousands. When we shall have 
e: pended the same amount of labor, we may expect like results. 

Christians at home can never conceive of the many difficulties 
and discouragements in propagatirg Christianity among an 
idolatrous people. They are degraded by superstition and op- 
posed from prejudice to all innovations upon the ancient cus- 

^6 Yates The Missionary. 

toms of their forefathers. They reg-ard a stranger from a far 
country, when he preaches ro them Christ and the resurrection, 
with the same contempt which was manifested to the apostle 
Paul by the Athenians when they asl'cd, "What will this babbler 

We are few in number and, at best, but feeble in body; but 
we are mighty through Christ, who is our strength. This world 
is to be converted to God by missionary labor. Then, brethren, 
be not faithless, but believing. Let us have your prayers and 
your aid, and send us more men, iiioj e men. 

Shanghai, Sept. 2yy 1852. 
*To Rev. C. King: 

At the time when your letter was received, my eyes were in 
such a condition as not to allow me to do much writing. I 
am now blessed with good eyesight 

I now find myself able to preach ir Chinese with some fluency. 
But, alas, the people seem to be given over to hardness of heart. 
They are chained by superstition anf! idolatry. 

Yet there are some encouraging features in our work. The 
people come in crowds to our church to hear us preach. And, 
be assured, brother, it is no small pr-vilege to preach the gospel 
daily to hundreds of these heathen people. This privilege, this 

honor, is now mine. 

Shanghai, Nov. 24, 1852. 
From Mrs. Yates to The Recorder: 

Though this is a "literary country," we find here no school 
houses or academies. A teacher, wishing to open a school and 
having received promise of patronaj^e, rents a room or obtains 
permission to use the back room of a temple. He occupies a 
place therein on a platform. Before him is a table on which 
are books, writing materials, the iridispensable teapot, and a 
ferule for lazy boys. Over the table is placed a Confucian tablet 
and before it, at certain times, incense is burned. Each scholar 
furnishes his own table and stool. There are no fixed tuition 
fees, though it is understood that the rich and the advanced 
scholars are to pay more than the poor and the backward. 

*A Methodist minister in North Carolina. 

Yates The Missionary. 87 

The scholars con their tasks aloud in a singing tone and keep 
their bodies in a swinging motion back and forth. After a time 
they are called up, one by one, to bay-sJw (back-book), which 
means that he must lay down his book, turn his back to it, 
and repeat the lesson. While doing this he swings from side 
to side like a clock pendulum. 

There is no fixed time for recess or for closing. When the 
time for dinner, at his home, approaches, the scholar leaves, 
having saluted, first Confucius, and tlien the teacher. 

Shanghai, Dec. 21, 1852. 
To his Sister: 

How I should like to look in upon you and Mr. and 

see the antics of that little missionary you have committed to 
your charge. See to it that you bring him up in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord. And, next in importance, provide 
for him a good education. You know not what station he 
is to fill in the world. He may be a Clay, or he may, in the 
providence of God, be a Judson, It he cannot aspire to the 
eminence of these great men, it may be his duty to become an 
humble missionary among the Chinese. It is your duty to pro- 
vide him with a good education, and God will assign him a field 

of labor. 

Shanghai, Dec. 30, 1852. 

The labors of the year 1852 have been characterized by such 
unbroken sameness as to leave me without striking incidents 
to communicate. The gospel has been preached regularly to 
large congregations. Last Sabbath we had three services, at 
each of which there were not less than five hundred hearers. 
There is a general spirit of inquiry about our religion. But it 
is all head work. There is no heart work about it. But we 
know that the mind must be informed before the affections 
can be moved. 

Ours is pioneer work. I trust that the Board and the churches 
will not become weary in waiting long for the harvest at 

88 Yates The Missionary 


RELELLION RECORDS 1853-1856 AGE 34-37 

TRUE history of the Tai-ping RebelHon wil) 
probably never be written. Affectini.- , as it did, 
all parts of a territory as large as the United 

States, arousing the passions of four hundred 

million people, and continuing through many years, it 
has not been equaled in its extent and magnitude in 
modern times. 

From a rising of peasants and mountaineeris in 1850, 
the movement had grown by 1853 to an enormous in- 
surrection of ungovernable fury and indi:- criminate 
s-laughter, and threatened the very existence of the em- 
pire. At first a religious, it became in time a political 
movement. What had begun as a struggle for religious 
freedom degenerated, first into fanaticism, and then into 
aimless and destructive massacre. 

We have to do here with this war only so far as it 
afTected the life of the subject of this memoir. And it 
will be seen, as we read his narrative and letters, that it 
came very close to him and affected his life most ma- 

I witnessed three cruel panics during the war. One was in 
midsummer and at midday The rebels were known to be not 
far off and were to be expected at any time. 

Two brothers were at work in a rice field. About noon one 
of them called to the other, "Vanhoiv-tsay' (rice is ready). A 
neighbor woman heard the loud call and understood him to 
say, "T' sa)ig-)iuriK'-hiy-tsay" (the long-haired Rebels are coming). 
She caught up her two children and ran as fast as she could 
with her cramped feet and, as she lan, she screamed for other 
neighbors to hear, "T'saii;i-maw-lay-tsay." They, too, caught 
up their children and ran, naking the same outcry. 

Yates The Missionary. 89 

Soon many thousands shared in tie panic. As they rushed 
past my place, many poor women c'.nd children, unable to go 
further, came in and filled my yard, while the great throng went 
on into the city, the north gate of which is near my house. 
In a short time, the whole city, with its hundreds of thousands, 
was in a panic. Many, seeking to cross the river in over- 
crowded boats, were drowned. The number of lives lost as 
the result of this little incident will never be known. 

At the taking of Soochow, at a later period, a large number 
of Imperial troops fell into the hands of the Rebels and were all 
put to the sword. More than eighty thousand of the people of 
Soochow, rather than fall into the hands of the monsters, as 
they considered these descroyers ot temples and idols, took 
their own lives. They threw their children and wives into the 
canals in and around the city. They then jumped in after them, 
and all perished together. 

Dr. T. P. Crawford and others an attempt to reach the 
rebels and found that the broad canals, for a distance of two 
miles from the city, were so choked with -dead bodies that a 
boat could not make its way through them. 

During these times of trial we gained the confidence of the 
people. They seemed to think that we knew, or ought to 
know, whether or not there was dangei. Their gods and priests, 
in whom they had been in the habit of trusting, were yielding 
to the fiery ordeal like stubble before the flames. Their officials 
and soldiers were fleeing before the storm. They now looked 
to foreigners for protection. 

One man, during a panic, in his fi antic efforts to find a place 
of safety for all the silver he had (about two hundred dollars), 
threw it over the wall into my yari and continued his flight. 
He simply had confidence that I wo«ld take care of it for him. 
His confidence was not misplaced. After the panic was over, 
he came and received his money. 

I have found, however, that the men for whom I did the 
most have shown the least inclination to put their trust in the 
God of gods and the Lord of lords. But there is no doubt 
that the confidence of the people in idols and idolatrous wor- 
ship received a terrible shock from the indiscriminate destruc- 

90 Yates The Missionary. 

tion cf temples and their contents by the Rebel leaders. The 
latter were the declared advocates ci the Christian religion. 

Though the priests have, during the last twenty years, been 
making a feeble effort to commence rebuilding some of the 
temples, they have been able to do little more in many locali- 
ties than erect temporary bmldings and place therein a few idols. 

The idols are paralyzed and must remain so for a few gener- 
ations. What an opportune time for the spread of the gospel 
it we had the men and means. 

Before the beginning of this rebellion of iconoclasts, 
it was very difficult for a foreigner to secure possession 
of an idol that had been worshiped, even though a large 
price was offered for it. Now, however, they were for 
sale at almost every curiosity shop along tne streets, 
and could be bought for a trifle. Images as large as men, 
which had been objects of the adoration of thousands, 
were now common curios in the homes of foreign mer- 

It was at this time that Mr. Yates sent from Shanghai 
to the Mission Rooms at Richmond several gilded idols 
of heroic stature. These uncrowned and humiliated gods 
were sent, not merely as curiosities, nor yet as trophies. 
To the mind of Mr. Yates they were dumb prophets of 
the downfall of paganism. 

On September 7th, 1853, the city of Shanghai was 
taken by the Rebels. There was almost no resistance, 
and 1)ut little bloodshed. In the gray dawn or morning, 
r^fr. ^'atcs was a witness of the rush of the six hundred 
men into the north gate. Of succeeding events he 
wrote : 

I went at once to the Foreign Concession and reported to the 
United States Minister, Hon. Humphrey Marshall, that the 
city was in the hands of a band of Rebels. Tie doubted it and. 
desiring to see for himself, asked me to accompany him as in- 
terpreter. We found the city in quiet possession of six hundred 
men. There were barely enough ol them to allow a guard of 
one man to a street, but the people stood in their doors as if 

Yates The Missionary. 91 

Within a few days many thousands of Rebels had gathered, 
and the city was sacked. An enormous quantity of silver and 
gold bars was collected at the headquarters of Lieu, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Rebels. The division of this treasure ancT 
other causes gave rise to a most serious dispute between the 
leaders, each of whom had a large following. This produced 
a state of excitement and peril whi(„h no pen can describe. 

At this juncture, the American minister, fearing that harm 
might befall the American missionaries who resided in the city, 
wished to send a dispatch to Lieu in regard to this matter. I 
volunteered to take the dispatch, foi Brother Crawford and his 
wife were among the residents within the walls. 

I was admitted at the north gate, and conducted to Lieu's 
headquarters. To reach the place I had to pass through a 
narrow alley, about four feet wide. In this alley there were 
three turns, each at a right angle. A cannon, loaded and then 
filled to the muzzle with brick-bats was stationed at each of 
these angles. They were primed with powder over and about 
the touch hole. Two fellows, looking like ruffians, were stand- 
ing by each gun, with lighted torcher in their hands, ready to 
touch ofT the cannon at the first appearance of an enemy. They 
waved their torches at me and demanded the object of my 
errand. I continued to advance with my dispatch in my hand, 
for they, being Cantonese, could not talk much with me. This 
challenge was made at each of the angles in the alley for a dis- 
tance of about one hundred yards. 

My dispatch to Lieu was my passport through each of these 
ordeals. I was, however, exposed to the greatest possible peril 
from an accidental discharge. The ruffians handled their torches 
so carelessly over the cannon, that sparks and burning coals 
were constantly falling, and the surface of powder exposed about 
the touch hole was as large as a man's hand. 

On reaching the ante-room, I felt that truly I was bearding 
the lion in his den. There were in the room a score or more of 
ruffians, all with drawn swords. They appeared to be quarrel- 
ing among themselves and at the point of fighting. They 
challenged me. I demanded an interview with Lieu, at the 
same time showing my dispatch. They said that they would 


Yates The Missionary 

take it to him. I said, *'No, I must deliver it in person and 
have some words with him." An officer retired, and on his re- 
turn conducted me to the commander-in-chief. On my way I 
passed through a large room filled with bars of silver (each 
worth seventy-two dollars) as a Southern corncrib is filled with 
ears of corn. The pile extended to the roof and allowed a 
space at the other side of the room about two feet wide through 
which to pass. 

I delivered my dispatch and received the assurance that the 
foreigners in the city should be carefully guarded. 

Having discharged the duty which 1 had undertaken, I re- 
tired through the same excited crown and dangerous alley. It 
was only after I had reached the street in safety that I began 
to realize the great peril to which I had been exposed. The very 
thought of it quickened my pace. My safe arrival at home was 
the occasion of praise and thanksgiving to God. 

On the night after this adventure Mr. Yates wrote in 
a letter: 

This day of indescribable anxiety has passed away without 
injury to my person or property. And now I am alone and 
shut in from the scene of confusion and anarchy which reigns 
without. The curtain of night kindly excludes from my view 
any danger that may be near. But God is here, and why should 
I think of danger? And yet I feel it difficult to be composed. 
I will read the fiity-first Psalm, and ask God. my preserver, to 
prepare me for a quiet night's repose. 

The story is resumed from the reminiscenses: 

The Taotai, or chief magistrate of the city, had been im- 
])risoned by the Rebels when the city was taken. One faction 
insisted that he should be executed, and tlie other that his life 
should be spared. The American minister sent a message to 
Lieu that he would protect the Taotai, if he should be placed 
in his charge. But Lieu found it impossible to get him out of 
the city until two foreigners assisted him over the wall, dressed 
as a common countryman. Once over the wall, he made his 
escape to the foreign settlement in a sedan chair borrowed from 
Mr. Yates. 

Yates The Missionary. 93 

Not being able to find the Taotai. the faction inimical to him 
became frantic with rage, and reso!v( d to attack the foreign set- 
tlement. The foreigners were on their guard at all approaches 
through the entire night. My servants all left me and begged 
me to run, sa3ang that it had been resolved to take the life of 
every foreigner. 

My family being on a trip to the country, I sat at a window 
alone throughout the night. The infuriated mob more than a 
dozen times got up courage enough to rush toward the foreign 
settlement. When, however, they came in sight of the power- 
ful reflectors, which had been arranged so as to reveal their 
approach, their courage failed, and they withdrew. The noise 
and excitement were fearful. 

After a few weeks, the Taotai, havnig collected a force, sought 
to retake the city. The first attack was made right at my 

First and last I witnessed sixty-eight battles around my house, 
my premises being the co\'er under which the Imperials ap- 
proached to within three hundred feet of the city wall. I could 
often hear the shot strike the roof tiies of the houses. 


ON GUARD IN ONE's OWN HOUSE 1853-1854 AGE 34-35 

The personal adventures related below are condensed 
irom Mr. Yates' reminiscences. 

The erection of a battery three hundred yards west of our 
mission premises and the arrival of large reinforcements to the 
besiegers suggested that it would no longer be prudent for the 
ladies of the Mission to remain in such an exposed position. 
Brother Cabaniss' house also was exposed, and he secured 
rooms in the Episcopal Mission, away from the scene of danger. 
Mrs. Yates and our daughter moved in with them, while I 
remained to protect, if possible, our Mission property. 

Having surveyed the situation, I took steps to guard against 


Yates The Missionary. 

danger. I did not think that the Rebels would fire intentionally 
at my windows, but I was exposed to stray shots. So I made 
barricades with mattresses, and moved my bed to what seemed 
a perfectly safe position. Then I committed myself to God to 
guard me against unforseen danger. 

Shot frequently crashed through the outer windows and 
against the wall at the foot of my bed or into the mattresses. 
But I soon became accustomed to this, as one does to the wash- 
ing of the waves against the sides of a ship at sea. I now de- 
voted myself to the study of the Janguage, and made good 
progress during the eighteen months that I was shut out from 
the rest of the world. It was during this period of forced in- 
action in other Missionary work that I rendered into the 
Shanghai dialect ''The Two Friends," a tract which has been 
of much service. 

After many unsuccessful assaults upon the walls, the Im- 
peralists set themselves in good earnest to the task of starving 
the Rebels out. To this end they constructed between the city 
and the foreign settlement a wall fifteen feet high. This cut 
me off from all supplies, i therefore demanded a gate in the 
wall, which would enable me to get to market. As an alterna- 
tive, in case I should be compelled by the refusal of this re- 
quest to leave the Mission, I demanded a guarantee of indemnity 
for all damage that might be done to the property. The com- 
mander-in-chief, knowing that the treaty guaranteed such an 
indemnity, agreed to my demand. The next day I received 
evidence that the indemnity had been paid into the consulate. 
Then, after standing guard over my house for sixteen months, 
a spectator of sixty-eight battles and of scenes of cruelty and 
horror, I had, with a heavy heart, to abandon my dear home. 

As soon as I vacated our premises, the Imperialists took pos- 
session and occupied them as a battery. The doors and windows 
were used as port holes, and this drew the enemy's fire. The 
whole of the wood work, the door;^, frames, floors, was taken 
out and used for fuel. 

At last the Rebels secretly withdrew from the city, having 
bribed enough of the Imperialists to render this possible. When 
the besiegers heard that they had left, they entered the city 

Yates The Missionary. 95 

with great caution. Fearing that there might be some trap, 
they fired the city. It burned for three days, and all the most 
valuable portion was destroyed. During these three days, the 
Imperialist army was allowed to sack the city. The scene can- 
not be described; it can scarcely be imagined. Many, who at- 
tempted to defend their property, were slain or seriously 
wounded. Strict search was made for the coffins of all the 
Rebels who had died or been killed. The corpses within them 
were decapitated in order to aggravate the sufiferings of the 
dead Rebels in the spirit world. 

Scores of millions of property were destro3^ed, and the ruin of 
the city seemed complete. This was the end of the useless and 
disastrous local rebellion which, though contemporaneous, had 
no real connection with the Tai-Ping movement. What re- 
mained of our Mission property was returned to us. The in- 
demnity which I had secured, by standing up for my rights, 
was sufficient to rebuild the houses r.nd put them in a habitable 

The question may naturally arise in the minds of some, "Were 
you not, from the position of your house under the city wall 
and at the point of attack, exposed to imminent danger?" Yes, 
I certainly was. But I had looked to the Lord for guidance, 
and it seemed to be my duty to guard the Mission property. 
I felt quite sure that, so long as I maintained a bold front, 
neither the Imperialists nor the Rebels w^ould dare to molest me 
personally or enter my premises for the purpose of pillage. 

And I was correct in my estimate of the Chinese character. 
To both parties, when they applied for permission to enter my 
house to see if any of their enemies were secreted therein, I 
made the same reply, "Your enemies are thieves; and do you 
suppose that I would for any consideration allow one of them 
to enter my premises?" This answer was usually satisfactory. 

Towards the last, however, the Imperialists became very ugly 
and demonstrative. On one occasion, two or three hundred 
men came unobserved by the Rebels to my back gate and 
pounded so furiously that it seemed as if they really intended 
to force their way in. I w^ent out and demanded to know what 
it all meant. They called upon me to open the gate, or they 

96 Yates The Missionary. 

would force it. I replied with all the boldness that I could as- 
sume, "I shall not open the gate to you, and you dare not 
iorce it. Are vou pirates or are you Imperial soldiers? If you 
are soldiers, show me your orders to enter and search my 
premises." Thereupon a number of matchlocks were thrust 
through my bamboo fence (I did not have a wall at that time), 
and a fierce demand came from many voices that the gate should 
be opened. 

At this juncture matters looked serious.' I saw that there was 
nothing left for me but to assume a bold front and charge them. 
So I walked up to the banipoo fence, where I could catch their 
eyes and hold them, and then, in an irnperious manner, I ordered 
them to withdraw their matchlocks or I would bend them 
double. They instinctively obeyed my order and called out 
"hi-ya' (he is brave). I called for the officer in command 
and reprimanded him for -he lawless conduct of his men. I 
also assured him that, if the ofifense should be repeated by his 
men or any other Imperial soldiers, I would report him to head- 

Having cowed them, I at once withdrew to my sanctum, to 
avoid further reference to the matter, for I had exhausted my 
last round of ammunition. This bloodless victory was none the 
less real for having been won under circumstances of great peril 
by digniiied bravado. 

During the numerous battles around my house I was also ex- 
posed to danger from stray shot, fo"* it was next to impossible 
not to look on during an engagement right under my windows. 
On the south side and east end of my house there was hardly 
a foot of space that had not received a shot of some kind. 

When the engagements were at night, I remained quietly in 
my barricaded sanctum and listened to the musket balls crashing 
through the windows and rolling ovet the floor of the adjoining 
room. My safe retreat, not being casemated, was not entirely 
proof against cannon shot or shell from above. From this 
quarter I did not apprehend any danger, as the Chinese batter- 
ies were on a level with my dwelling-house lot, and they had 
no shells. 

On the morning that the mine under the city wall near the 

Yates The Missionary. 97 

Ningpo Joss was sprung, some one in charge of the battery a 
few hundred yards west of me, in attempting to put a shot 
against the North Gate, aimed so wide of the mark that he put 
it through the roof of my house. It pierced one of the main 
roof beams and then, faihng to bury itself into the next beam, 
it dropped on the ceihng of my room and rolled on the laths. 
These began to give way under its weight. Seeing that it was 
going to drop on a pet table, I jumped upon a chair and caught 
it in my hands as it fell. Thus I s.ived my table from injury. 
It proved to be a nine-pound, wrought-iron shot. Like the 
Irishman's deck plug, it was neither oval, square, nor round. 
This oblong shot, made by a blacksmith, was the only cannon 
ball that penetrated my sanctum during the strife. 

Some shot from the balcery on the west, after piercing the 
vacant house of Mr. Cabaniss, dropped at the wall of my house. 
Others from the battery on the other side of the river, more 
than a mile away, dropped at the foot of my eastern wall. As, 
however, a cannon ball from either the east or the west had to 
pass through three walls before it could penetrate my sanctum, 
except by the roof, I felt quite secure while in my room. 

But outside of my room there was danger when the batteries 
were in action. On one occasion the Rebels set fire to the house 
of a Chinese neighbor, just at my back gate. The poor inmates, 
who were about to suffer the loss of all that they possessed, 
came to us crying out, "Save, save." I rushed into the midst 
of se\ eral hundred Rebels, who were standing in the garden, to 
see that the house was destroyed, and promised them that, if 
they would extinguish the tire and dlow the family to remove 
their things, I would guarantee that the house would be pulled 
down within three days. After this assurance from me, the fire 
was extinguished. During the few moments that I was talking 
to the Rebels, they were fired on by the battery a little distance 
west of us, and the tw-elve pound shot passed only three feet 
above my head. The space between my head and the cannon 
ball was easily determined by the mxark of the shot on a tree 
beyond me. The concussion prostrated me as well as many of 
the Rebels who were in the line of the shot, but, apart from a 

c8 Yates The Missionary. 


severe fright, I sustained no injury. Without further warning 
I retired to my sanctum. 

But I accompHshed my errand and received the inmates of 
the house, more than twenty souls with all their goods, into 
my house and compound. These people have remained stolid 
heathen to this day, and, though they live next door to a Bap- 
tist church, they never attend a religious service. The terror- 
ism of their false gods and iheir superstition keeps them away. 

Time would fail me to tell all the incidents of personal adven- 
ture and narrow escapes. I was shot at twice with a rifle by 
a foreigner in the service of the Rebels when I was making my 
way to my family, as I tried to do once si month. But, thanks 
to a merciful Providence, I was delivered from all my perils and 
still live — a monument of God's mercy and grace. 

The many Chinese who looked to me for help and protection 
seemed to feel perfectly safe within my house or in my presence. 
They believed in me, and trusted me in all things except as to 
the way of salvation. They were content with their systems. 

The confidence with which the Chinese appealed t.) 
Air. Yates for all kinds of assistance is illustrated by an 
incident which occurred during his earlier missionary 
career. It is presented here just as it is related by D^-. 
W. R. Lambuth, formerly a missionary in Shangha-, 
and now Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of 
the Methodist Church at Nashville, Tenn. 

A poor old Chinaman cilled one day upon Dr. Yates. He 
told his story of poverty and hopelessness in a few words. It 
seems that he had no children, and now in old age he and his 
wife, expecting shortly to die, had neither money to pay funeral 
expenses nor children to bury them when dead. He addressed 
the doctor as follows: "I have known you by reputation for 
years. Though I am not a Christian I have attended your 
chapel services and heard you preach. What is more, I have 
watched you day by day for years, and am convinced that among 
all my countrymen there is none more honest than you. I have 
perfect confidence in your word and your honor. My old wife 
and I make an unusual request of you to-day. We have no 

Yates The Missionary. 99 

money with which to buy our coffins or pay the expenses of our 
burial. We ask you to furnish the former and attend to the 
latter when we die." 

The doctor was utterly nonplussed, and at first thought con- 
cluded to dismiss the old man and his singular petition without 
further consideration. But seeing that he was so wrought up 
about it, and at the same time so deeply convinced of the dis- 
interestedness of the missionaries. Dr. Yates concluded to give 
the matter a little consideration. Rl replied, "Come back to- 
morrow and I will answer." Upon consultation with Mrs. 
Yates they agreed to meet the expense required, and so an- 
swered the old man on the following day. He was perfectly 
delighted when Dr. Yates furnishec $100 with which to pur- 
chase two coffins. Bowing his thanks he left the house, secured 
coffins for himself and wife, and had them deposited in his house 
in preparation for the time when his wife and himself must 
occupy them. 

A few weeks after this was attended to, the old man returned 
and requested another interview with Dr. Yates. After saluta- 
tions had been exchanged he proceeded to draw from the folds 
of his girdle a greasy paper. "This " said he, presenting it to 
the doctor, "is the title for a little piece of ground I own in 
the suburbs of the city. It is not worth anything, but I have 
nothing else in the world to ofter you for your kindness." Dr. 
Yates refused the offer, but the old man persistently urged him 
to accept it. Not willing to be ungracious, he finally did so, 
and had the lot registered in his name. 

In due course of time the old couple died, and were buried 
by the doctor at an additional expense of about $50. 

Years elapsed, when one day an Englishman in Shanghai 
called upon Dr. Yates and desired to purchase a piece of land 
which he owned in the suburbs. The doctor repeatedly denied 
that he owned a lot in that quarter of the city. The Englishman 
insisted that such a lot was registered in his name. They went 
to the consulate to inspect the records, and found it to be the 
case. It was the lot given the doctor years before by the old 
man. New streets had been opener as the city grew in size, 
and the small piece of ground had largely enhanced in value. 

TOO Yates The Missionary. 

It was sold for about $i,5'^o, which reimbursed Dr. Yates for 
his initial expense and gave him a balance of over $1,200, as 
bread cast upon the waters which har' returned after many days. 



AGE 34-35. 

HE letters of the solitary watchman, having been 
written in the midst of the struggles around 
the mission premises, give even a more vivid 
^_____ a<:count of details than is presented in the remi- 
niscences. The sharp contrast between the hubbub and 
slaughter without, and the calm man within, coolly work- 
ung on a Chinese lexicon, needs no comment. 

Slianghai, January 29, 1853. 
To Rev. T. W. Tobey: 

The Rebellion is progressing. Already three provinces have 
been overrun. We are encouraged in our work by the good 
attendance on our ministry. 

The ice this morning is two inches thick. A few days ago 
we had deep snow. Many poor Chinese are to be seen dead 
in the streets this morning. You know something of these 

Having heard that there was impatience and dissatis- 
faction at home, because progress in China was slow and 
the converts few, Mr. Yates wrote: 

Shanghai, August 6, 1853. 
Those who complain of our want 01 success should remember 
that the China Mission has been 111 operation only about ten 
years. The language had to be acquired, the Bible translated, 
tracts prepared, and prejudices overcome. What would farmers 
think of a neighbor who, having prepared his soil and sowed 
his seed, should, in the month of June, sit down and lament over 

Yates The Missionary. ioi 

his want of success, with the crop springing up all around him? 

Would they not say that he was unreasonable? 

The churches have no reason to be discouraged, so long as 

the iNlissionarics are encouraged. 

Shanghai, October ii, 1853. 

On tlic morning of October ist the Imperialists made a 
desperate attack upon the Rebels under cover of our Mission 
premises. I witnessed the whole battle. The scene was most 
exciting. My dwelling received eighteen balls. We stay by 
our dear homes to keep them irom being used as breastworks, 
and I am willing to subject myself to no little discomfort to 
save the North Carolina Mission dwelling from certain de- 
struction. I have barricaded one of the least exposed rooms, 
and am determined to stay by my home till the roof is shot 

from over my head. 

Shanghai, November 29, 1853. 
To his Parents: 

There has been much cannonading to-day by both of the 
belligerent parties. I can sit at my table engaged with my 
teacher and hear the cannon balls rush through the air and 
strike among the houses in the city 

Two months have passed away since I entered the city to 
preach. The city gates are closed and barricaded. Now that 
I am debarred from preaching, I am devoting all my time to 
the preparation of a dictionary of the spoken language of this 
region. There is no work of this kind in this dialect; hence 
I do not see how I can, under existing circumstances, better 
serve the cause of missions rhan by preparing a work which will 
enable the new comer to a -.quire thii dialect with greater facil- 
ity. It is an arduous undertaking, but I trust that I shall be 
able to complete it. 

The rebels shot a man to-day near the corner of my lot. 
His body is still lying where it fell. 

November 30. — I have done a good day's work on my dic- 
tionary of words and phr-ises. Brother Cabaniss called and 
informed me that wife and daughter are well. 

December i. — To-day the weather has been fine, and I have 
performed my usual day's work. 

I02 Yates The Missionary, 

The Imperialists attacked the city to-day in good earnest, 
both by land and water. My house was again surrounded by 
fighting men, and the eighteen-pounder near my house was in 
constant action. The scene was exciting till I began to see dead 
bodies carried off. Four w^ere killed near my house. I have 
bought a coffin, and have had buried the body of the man shot 
at the corner of my lot day before yesterday. There must be 
gieat suffering, perhaps starvation, in the city; for there are at 
least seventy thousand souls in Shanghai who live to-day on 
the labor of yesterday. 

December 2. — This has been the most fearful day that has 
dawned since the war commenced at Shanghai. The attack 
upon the Rebels on the w^all was begun at four o'clock this 
morning, and it is not yet ended (at 9 P.M.). There have been 
hardly five minutes during the day when my house has not been 
trembling from the firing of cannon I have the prospect of a 
sleepless night. 

December 3. — The events of to-day have been even more san- 
guinary than those of yesterday. At daj^break five hundred Reb- 
els sallied out of the city gate and challenged the Imperialists to a 
fight in the open field. About fifteen hundred Imperialists came 
out to meet them. The engagement lasted two hours. It was 
a burlesque on war, for no order was observed by either party. 
But I saw many wounded. Fifteen. ! am told, were killed. 

December 5.— The weather being very cold, there has been 
no serious engagement to-day. Hence I have been able quietly 
to prosecute my labors. 

December 6. — Twice to-day there have been sallies from the 
city. I saw several fall. Among them was a man of mark, 
having a white button and feather in his cap. Many were 

December 7. — Just three months ago the Rebels took Shang- 
hai. The excitement of that day was as nothing compared with 
that of to-day. The air has been vooal with the music of cannon 
balls. The Imperialists have six hundred cannons on land and 
water. From the powerful armament they poured for hours 
a storm of shot into tlie city. And the Rebel cannons on the 

Yates The Missionary. 103 

wall were not idle. I have had a good shaking, such as I do 
not care to have again. 

The thirty-one pirate vessels in the employ of the Imperial- 
ists have this afternoon attacked a Rebel battery. Since this 
attack, troops have landed and have f red the city outside of the 
walls in several places. 1 have just been (7 P.M.) to the 
window. The scene is awful. For three quarters of a mile the 
city is burning, and the wind is higli. I can distinctly hear the 
cracking and snapping of the burning timbers. This extensive 
suburb on the river, the most wealthy part of Shanghai, is 
doomed to destruction in :his conflagration. 

Notwithstanding the great hubbub to-day, I have performed 
my usual task of labor. 

December 8. — Stormy. Strong wind and rain. The fire con- 
tinued to burn all night. The rain has now well nigh put it 
out. Being unwell, I have been unable to get out to make en- 
quiries. The Chinese say that the loss of life is very great. I 
have done my usual amount of work to-day. 

Shanghai, December i8, 1853. 

I have felt it more necessary that these houses should be 
preserved, because, if the Imperialists enter the city, our rented 
dwellings there will probably be burned. In that case, the 
other families could be crowded in with us for a time. 

While debarred from preaching, I devote my whole time to 
the preparation of a dictionary of the words and phrases of the 
spoken Shanghai dialect. The lack of this has long been felt 
by all who have attempted the study of this dil^cult language. 

February 28, 1854. 
To his Father: 

The Rebels still hold the city; the Imperial troops still con- 
tinue their attacks. My dear family are two miles away. I, a 
solitary watchman, remain at the North Carolina Mission 
House. I have been just between the contending parties in 
forty-two engagements. God, in his great mercy, has thus far 
preserved me from all harm. You are doubtless ready to ask 
whether I am not afraid to stay here. No; for you know how 
insensible to danger one becomes in war. But while this state 

104 Yates The Misl-ionarv. 

of things lasts we can do nothing in the waj of missionary 
work. Oh, when is it to end? 

March 14. — Since I wrote the above, things have moved on 
about as usual. There is fighting every day or two. Cannon 
balls continue to whistle by my door. One struck my house a 
few days ago, but did not do much damage. This kind of diver- 
sion has ceased to be a novelty. 

This goes by the ship Mandarin. Much love to dear mother 
and all the family, white and black. 

Shanghai, May 27, 1854. 
To Rev. T. W. Tobey: 

The Imperialists are still besieging the city. We shall prob- 
ably have several years of great commotions in China. But we 
know that in the providence of God it will be for the good of 
this great Empire. 

The commandant of the Rebels has issued two proclamations 
concerning idolatry. He declares ir to be the worship of the 
devil. Though he evidently knows nothing of the spirit of 
Christianity, he professes to be anxious to "eat the foreign 
religion." Our congregations are not large, but the people 
seem to enjoy having our presence and sympathy in these 
troublous times, 

I have about half completed a dictionary of the language 
spoken in this part of China, and hope to finish it by the end 
of this 3''ear. 

Whether this work was finished by the end of that year 
is not known. That it was completed, however, is shown 
by a reference to it in a letter written by Mr. Yates ex- 
actly five years later. In this he said: "1 have, in four 
hundred manuscript pages, a dictionary of the Shanghai 

Shanghai, May 29, 1854. 
As there has been but little fighting since April 4th, we have 
resumed our preaching services. The attendance, though not 
so good as formerly, is not to be despised. Some of our con- 
gregations would make an interesting group for a painter, con- 
sisting, as they do, of Rebels, in various costumes, all having 

Yates The Missionary. 105 

their weapons, men, women, and children, including the dis- 
eased, the blind, and beggars. The people appear pleased to 
have us go into the city, and, especially, to have our sympathy 
in their time of trouble. 

There is abundant evidence that to the end of his career 
?Jr. Yates gave, not merely his sympathy, but his help 
m many ways to his Chinese nei^s^hbors. Dr. R. H. 
Graves, of Canton, has said: ''His influence among the 
Chinese was very great. Even those heathen who re- 
jected his religion revered and honored him as a man." 

Shanghai, July 21, 1854. 
To Adolphus G. Jones, Esq.: 

I am gratified to learn that the Raleigh Association, in ap- 
pointing you as its Corresponding Secretary, has taken another 
step in the right way. Had one been appointed when I was 
accepted as their ^Missionary, I should not have lived the last 
three years without receiving a friendly letter from any member 
of the body except my own kindred. I propose to write quar- 
terly. These letters may serve as the basis of a report to be 
presented to the body at its annual meeting. 

The presence of a large besieging army, rendering life in- 
secure, has very materially interfered with our Missionary labors. 
Up to the twenty-eighth of last September, when the Imperial- 
ists came to attack the city, it was my privilege to preach five 
days in the week to large and encouraging congregations. 
Since that time I have been engaged in the preparation of a 
dictionary of the dialect of this place — a desideratum long and 
seriously felt. By the end of the year I hope to have the entire 
work ready for the press. Should this work, when completed, 
be the means ot enabling future missionaries to learn this lan- 
guage with more ease and greater accuracy, I shall feel that my 
daily toil, in the midst of great peril, has not been in vain in 

the Lord. 

Shanghai, September 28, 1854. 
To Rev. J. J. James: 

I am truly delighted to see evident signs that the Baptists of 
North Carolina are becoming roused as to the importance of 
female educalion. This is encouraging, for a liberal policy in 

io6 Yates The Missionary. 

regard to the education of females forms the basis of all im- 
provement, religious, civil, and social. Educate the females, 
and the education of the other sex will regulate itself. 

I conceive that female education has the same relation to the 
education of the other sex that efficient operations in Home 
Missions have to Foreign Missions. When every nook and cor- 
ner of North Carolina and favored America is visited and en- 
livened by a pure gospel, then v^e may expect the corps of 
foreign missionaries to be greatly increased, and the treasury 
of the Lord to overflow with the first fruits of cheerful givers. 
Till then, the burden must be borne by a few. 

It is truly lamentable that in many of our churches and minis- 
ters there is indifference, not to say direct opposition, to 
Foreign Missions. 

Foreign Missions propose nothing more nor less than the 
accomplishment of the design for which the Saviour came into 
the world. 

Viewing the subject and the field from this far-ofT standpoint, 
and feeling deeply solicitous for a more enlightened sentiment, 
and more liberal policy as to missions, I conceive that the most 
efifectual way to bring about this change is to educate; educate 
the females and the rising ministry, and send forth into every 
district a pure gospel. The best talent in the churches may 
perhaps be more profitably employed in this department of labor 
than in any other. 

Yates The Mis.sionary. io7 


/ LMOST SUPERHUMAN EFFORTS 1855-1856 aGE 36-37. 

HEN the cessation of hostilities at Shanghai 
allowed the resumption of regular missionary 
work, Mr. Yates and his colleagues, as if to 
retrieve the time that had been lost, began 

preaching and teaching with redoubled zeal. The title 

of this chapter is justified by its contents. 

Shanghai, March 6, 1855. 
The city of Shanghai is now a mere wreck. The Imperialists, 
when once within the walls, did not stop their wanton destruc- 
tion till nearly half of the best part of the city was in flames. 
The fire burned to within one house of the Baptist church. 
This had been seriously damaged by shot and shell from French 


Shanghai, April 11, 1855. 

For some days we have been much confined to our dwellings 
Sy the almost constant rain. The weather prevented me from 
going to my eleven o'clock service to-day. This afternoon, 
though the storm had not abated, I did not feel satisfied to allow 
a Sabbath to pass without trying to preach to some one. So. 
drawing on my rain boots, I plodded for a mile to the church. 
The ringing of the church bell called in about twenty. I tried 
to preach for a half an hour or so, the people coming in all 
the time. 

Having finished what I must confess was a very poor efifort, 
if not a failure, I dismissed the congregation. I was greatly 
surprised to find that not a man rose from his seat to leave the 
place. You can imagine my embarrassment. 

Seeing others coming in, I resolved, the Lord helping me, 
to try again. So I resumed my stand and preached with ease 
for an hour concerning Christ as the Saviour of men to a large 

io8 Yates The Missionary. 

and apparently deeply interested congregation. I felt that the 
Lord was there in our midst. 

Shanghai, April 20, 1855. 
Our Mission property will soon be restored to its original 
state. I moved into my house two months ago. Mrs. Yates' 
school house has been rebuilt in a more eligible position. Here- 
after, when we refer to it as a preaching place, it will be under 
the name of Kiaw-hwo-dong. The Sung-way-dong will be 
ready for use again in a few days. The cost of all these repairs 
will come within the indemnity received from the Chinese 

The next letter is brief, but of profound significance 
It tells of the first female ever baptized in China upon 
a profession of faith in Christ, the file-leader of the host 
of Baptist women, of the thousands who are now and of 
the millions who are yet to be in the Empire of China. 

Perhaps it was to be expected that this event should 
occur at Shanghai rather than at any other of the open 
ports. It appears that here, more than elsevsdiere, the 
way was open for carrying the gospel message to 
females. Not long before this time Mr. Shuck had 
written : 

Being so long accustomed to female exclusiveness in the 
South of China, I was surprised, on coming to Shanghai, to 
find females everywhere frequenting the shops and stores and 
streets. We have had as many as fourteen to visit our house in 
a day. 

Shanghai, June i, 1855. 

Last Sabbath we received by baptism the first female member 
from among the multitudes of this city. It would have done 
you good to be present and hear her tell what the Lord had 
done for her soul. During my address on this occasion, I saw 
tears flow freely from the eyes of several in the congregation. 

Shanghai, June i, 1855, 
To his Parents: 

We are just entering the heat of summer, and we all feel it, 
more or less. I have of late had some indications of a return 

Yates The Missionary. log 

of my old trouble in my head. I hope, however, that it is only 

You will rejoice to know that the Lord is at work in our 
midst. Last Sabbath we received one by baptism. Another 
has professed. We have now several interesting enquirers. 

T. ,, e r, T.T • Shanghai, June 26, 1855. 

To Mr. S. P. Norris: 

As soon as the city fell into the hands of the Lnperialists last 
February, the authorities turned over to us the wreck of our 
Mission. I proceeded at once to restore my house to its original 
condition, and it is now as good as new. The indemnity of 
$5,000 from the Chinese government will restore all our Mission 
property and leave a small balance to go into the Mission 
treasury. My own personal loss by the war, to say nothing of 
my trouble and peril, is $100. This is a dead loss. 

After the fall of the city, we renewed our attacks upon the 
strongholds of idolatry. Many of the temples have been de- 
molished, idols and all, by the Rebels. We have been holding 
seven services a week to an average attendance of about 2,500. 
In the midst of their many troubles, the people listen to the 
peaceful truths of the gospel with more interest than they did 
before the war. And they have had ocular demonstration of the 
weakness of the gods on whom they relied, when they saw the 
idols thrown into the ditches. Many now seem to be, giving to 
the gospel the attention which its importance demands. We 
have received two into our little church since the fall of the city. 

June 27. — We moved back home yesterday, but it will take 
some days to get things arranged. 

Shanghai, September 12, 1855. 
To his Sister: 

You doubtless think that the life of a Missionary is much 
more adapted to the growth of piety in the heart than that of a 
farmer. Do not think this. Every heart knows its own sorrows, 
and every situation in life has its peculiar trials. 

Just eight years ago to-day we landed in Shanghai. During 
these years we have seen much hard service. God has been 
very merciful to us. 

no Yates The Missionary. 

If yours is a house of prayer, you may be a very happy family. 
If there is no family altar there, your children, I fear, will grow 
up ignorant of God and the way of salvation. You should not 
depend upon the preacher to teach your children the require- 
ments of the gospel when they shall have grown up to be large 
girls and boys. In youth is the time to sow the seeds of virtue. 
If the good seeds are not sown in youth, the wicked one will 
be sure to sow the seeds of vice. It is high time that you had 
realized the responsibility resting upon a mother. It is the 
mother that shapes the character of her ofifspring. And if she 
fails to impart in youth those lessons of truth which are cal- 
culated to lead her child into the ways of virtue and holiness, 
she will have abundant reasons to regret it when it will be too 

Allow me, my dear sister, to impress upon your mind the im- 
portance of maternal influence and watchfulness. We all know 
that the most lasting impressions upon our minds were received 
in our youth. Since, then, this is the age for receiving the most 
abiding impressions, it is the age for imparting the most im- 
portant instructions. "Train up a child in the way he should 
go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." A child, 
when he is old, should go in the ways of holiness and peace; 
then, as soon as he is able to talk and understand you, teach 
him the simple truths of the gospel, and teach him verses of 
Scripture* He may not know the meaning at first, but the seed 
sown in youth will remain in the heart. Never let him go to 
bed without saying a little prayer. If you have no little 
childrens' prayers, you must make some. 

Shanghai, September 12, 1855. 
To the Raleigh Association: 

This is the eighth anniversary of my arrival. In embarking 
in this enterprise, I gave myself wholly to the Lord to promote 
his glory among the heathen. And although it has been my 
lot to pass through many hard trials, I have never once regretted 
my decision. My retrospect of the past fills me with hope for 
the future. It is impossible for you to estimate results by the 
number of converts reported, or to form a correct idea of what 
has been done. One who settles in a new country must perform 

Yates The Missionary. hi 

much hard labor in the way of felHng trees, building houses, 
and clearing land. Then, when the brush wood is all removed, 
the soil, matted with roots, must be broken up before it is in a 
fit condition to receive seed. And there must be an outlay of 
funds before the land can begin to yield large profit. 

So with a Mission in its incipient state. And in China, where 
the devil has had unlimited sway for ages, there are briars and 
thorns of many centuries' growth, and you can readily see that 
much time must be ernployed in making way for and sowing 
the seed. Now, since the age of miracles closed, the gospel has 
made progress in proportion to the means used. And when we 
consider the agents at work here and the means at their dis- 
posal, we are filled with gratitude to God for the progress made. 
We rejoice to know that the seed we have sown in a soil long 
preoccupied by the most noxious weeds are beginning to spring 
up and to bear fruit. 

This is probably the only stage in the whole range of your 
existence during which it is in your power to glorify Christ by 
helping to extend his kingdom. 

Shanghai, January 5, 1856. 

The past year has been eventful. In February, when the city 
fell into the hands of the Imperialists, our North Gate Mission 
premises were in ruins, and our chapel in the city much injured. 
j\Iy house was built without disturbing the old walls. Brother 
Cabaniss' house had to be rebuilt from the foundations. The 
chapel, now known as Kiaw-hwo-dong, has been rebuilt in a 
more eligible location. Our chapel in the city had to be re- 
roofed, and twenty feet of the bell tower had to be taken down. 
All this work has been completed at a somewhat less cost than 
the amount received from the Chinese government. 

Shanghai, January 5, 1856. 
I do not think that we have been able to do as much effective 
preaching in any previous year as during 1855. We now have 
four preaching places, and maintain eighteen services a week, 
with an attendance at all of them of about twenty-five hundred 
persons. Besides, we hold many private interviews with en- 
quirers. Our business is to sow the seed beside all waters, and 
leave the event with God. 

112 Yates The Missionary. 

You will see that your missionaries are putting forth almost 
superhuman efforts to reach the multitudes with the gospel; 
with what success, eternity alone will reveal. 

There are five day schools in connection with our Mission, 
with an average attendance of fifty boys and fifty girls. 

Last year we published five thousand "Epitome of the Bible," 
three thousand "Ten Commandments with Commentary," and 
three thousand "Two Friends," an admirable tract. We now 
have in the hands of the printer an edition of five thousand oi 
the "New Testament." 

During 1855 we distributed several thousands of these pub- 

Mr. Yates had good evidence that in some cases the 
books and tracts distributed brought forth good fruit. 
But in after years he became skeptical as to the wisdom 
of indiscriminate book and tract distribution. In 1877 
he wrote: 

We should not be too sanguine of good results from all the 
books we distribute. The people will not destroy a Chinese 
book, but they will sell them to book scavengers. These are 
cmplo>^ed by a class of men who show their reverence for the 
Chinese written characters by collecting and burning all the 
paper they can find with these characters printed on it. 

For many years it was a marvel to me what became of all 
the religious books distributed by missionaries. I resolved, if 
possible, to find out. In every shop in a long street I left a tract. 
A month or two afterwards I went through that street enquiring 
after my tracts. Strange to say, I could not find a single copy. 
Some said that the books were so good that they had given them 
to their friends. I did not believe it, for no one could tell any- 
thing about the contents of the tracts. My difficulty was not 

Some days afterwards a Chinese friend told me that, if I 
would go to a certain small temple early in the morning, I could 
find out what became of our books, or a large portion of them. 
Soon after I arrived at the temple, seven or eight coolies came 
in, each bearing a sack of books and printed paper. I emptied 

Yates The Missionary. 113 

one sack on the floor, and found that it was filled mainly with 
religious books and tracts from most of the Treaty Ports. 
Among them were some of those which I had distributed, and 
had sought for in vain. I looked into the other sacks and found 
them filled with similar material. 

These books were to be burned before the idol. Some of the 
ashes were to be cast into the canals and rivers to furnish the 
spirits of the departed with reading matter. The remainder, 
mixed with oil, was to be used to form the paste of which the 
smooth surfaces of lacquered ware are made. There is quite a 
business in the ashes of paper for these two uses. 

I am happy to say that all books are not so treated, for indis- 
criminate distribution has been discontinued. Notwithstanding 
the many disappointments, the judicious circulation of books 
must continue to be a means of aggressive work. 

Shanghai, May 22, 1856. 

A party of us, including Mrs. Yates and Annie, have just 
returned from a long trip into the interior. We were gone 
fifteen days, and travelled about four hundred miles, most of the 
time through the silk growing district. We visited many towns 
and cities, as well as the mountains. From these we could 
look right out to the sea. 

The mountain scenery and the broad expanse of water beyond 
were refreshing to our eyes, after an imprisonment for nearly 
nine years. The silk district is indeed a fine country, than 
which none is better watered. Canals, from ten to fifty yards 
wide, intersect the country in every direction, at intervals of 
from one, two, to three miles, with something like the regularity 
of the streets of a city. These public highways, the work of 
human hands, form the thoroughfares of this plain. All travel- 
ing, whether for business or pleasure, is done on water. These 
canals answer to our railroads; they are, however, much more 
numerous, and were in successful operation a thousand years 
before railroads were thought of. 

Shanghai, July 30, 1856. 
To Rev. T. W. Tobey: 

You can form some idea of the heat here when I tell you that 

114 Yates The Missionary. 

we have had no rain since March. The crops in this rich plain 
are cut off by drought. I am very feeble, though perfectly well, 
and am as limber as you can conceive a man to be. 

The insurgents have regained this year more than they lost 
in 1855. No one can tell what will be the fate of this bigoted 
old Empire. I cannot see now, how any good is going to come 
out of the insurrection. I am a Rebel in feeling, but the Chinese 

have not found it out. 

Shanghai, August 29, 1856. 

I have not attempted to do much preaching for the last two 

months. I am perfectly well, but have suffered from great 

debility. A few months ago I was the victim of malaria. These 

eastern agues must surely come from a land of giants. They 

give a man, even of my stature, a most awful shaking. 

Shanghai, September 6, 1856. 
By this mail I send an article addressed to the pastors of the 
South. It is long, but I cannot be short on such a subject. 
It has haunted me for years. This much I know; all your 
efforts will be of little value unless you can instruct the pastors 
of churches. The pastors are not interested themselves, and 
consequently they do not try to instruct others. I tell you, 
my brother, unless you can rouse the ministry to a sense of their 
duty to a lost world, the millions of heathen now living are lost. 

During- the spring and siuiimcr of 1856, some objec- 
tions had been raised by missionaries in the field to 
existing regulations. The Board in Richmond invited 
tlie several Alissions to submit suggestions as to desir- 
able changes. The Shanghai Mission agreed upon the 
following, among other regulations: 

The old plan of forming the missionaries at or near the same 
place into a body or "Mission" for the transaction of business 
is hereby done away with, and henceforth each missionary 
stands, so far as the Board is concerned, independent of his 
fellow missionaries, and directly and individually responsible to 
God and the Board for the faithful discharge of his duties. 

The views of Mr. Yates in regard to the whole matter 

Yates The Missionary. 115 

are given in two letters which are reproduced here. No 
evidence of subsequent change in the views expressed in 
them has been revealed in any of the hundreds of letters 
which have been examined in the preparation of this 

Shanghai, October 28, 1856. 

I must say to the Board what I have told my associates I 
felt bound to say; that, as I do not feel any necessity for, and 
cannot conceive any advantage to be derived from, the innova- 
tions proposed. 1 do not wish to be understood as advising the 
change contemplated; but that, if the Board think best to adopt 
it, I will work under it. 

I must state, however, that I believe the adoption of the 
article in question will be the first step towards the virtual sep- 
aration of Missions into as many separate interests as there are 
missionaries. I regard concert of action as highly essential. 

Having labored under the old regulations for nine years, and 
with two sets of missionaries, I have never known an instance 
in which any one could say that he was oppressed or restrained 
in any enterprise for the furtherance of the gospel among the 

I have to ask the Board to excuse me from taking any further 
part in making regulations for our government. I hold myself 
ready to adopt the regulations that may be returned to us by 
the Board. 

Shanghai, July 30, 1857. 

I regretted very much to learn from your letter that the action 
of the Board upon regulations for the government of their mis- 
sionaries would be deferred till after the Convention. The time 
has come when the Board must act with firmness and decision 
if they wish to avoid the distractions of the Northern Board. 
There must be an acting Board or Mission abroad, or there is 
no necessity for one at home. 

I conceive it to be the duty of the Board to adopt reasonable 
and equitable regulations, and then receive no missionary under 
their patronage who will not come under them; and then to 
retain no missionary who will not cheerfully work under them. 
The Board must govern their Missions, or they will soon claim 

ii6 Yates The Missionary. 

the right to dictate to the Board. A single ambitious or re- 
belHous member of a Mission can destroy the peace and 
neutraHze the influence of that Mission as long as he is con- 
nected with it. 

What I desire is for the Board to adopt a policy and main- 
tain it firmly. It will be seen that I have no selfish ends to 
attain by these remarks. The Board may adopt a policy which 
may be as much against my views as those of other people. 

May you have wisdom from above! 

Shanghai, November 6, 1856. 
To Rev. W. T. Walters: 

Most assuredly I remember you a? an old college mate; and 
I am delighted to hear cheering intelligence from you as to my 
Alma Mater. I rejoice to know of the state of moral and re- 
ligious feeling among the students. I look with no little interest 
upon the influence that the young men who go out from the 
college will exert upon the churches. 

My health has been declining for some time, and the Board 
have invited me to return to the States to recruit my exhausted 
strength. But I do not see how I can leave Shanghai, if it can 
be avoided. 

We are comfortably housed, and have four places of worship, 
than some of which none are more commodious or more eligibly 
situated. We are all able to preach, and are heard in our daily 
and Sabbath services by at least twenty-five hundred persons 
a week. Our day schools, six in number, are well attended. 

Even though we could not report a single conversion, we 
have laid the foundation for a mighty superstructure. And 
this is no mean part of an important work. 

Shanghai, December 31, 1856. 

Would that I were able to report such results as would both 
encourage and rouse the churches; but duty requires me to 
speak the language of history rather than of fancy or enthus- 

We now have two chapels. One of these, Sung-way-dong, is 
in the most thronged part of the city. The other, Kiaw-hwo- 
dong, is near the North Gate Mission premises. These, in- 

Yates The Missionary. 117 

eluding the dwellings and school rooms, are worth $20,000. 
We have, besides, two rented places. 

We have daily services during the week and twice on the 
Sabbath at Sung-way-dong, and at least three times a week at 
each of the other three places. We preach, I suppose, to about 
twenty-five hundred persons a week, with what results, eternity 
alone will reveal. But it would be as unfair to estimate the 
results of our labors by our present membership, as to estimate 
a crop by the first ripening ears. 

Our day schools, six in number, are well attended. We shall, 
however, have to wait some years before we can hope to see 
much result from this experiment in schools. 

The man of little faith who is easily discouraged by difficul- 
ties, would see but little to encourage him in the great struggle 
in which we are engaged. But the man who looks at our work 
through the telescope of the promises of God would see much 
to encourage him in our present position at Shanghai. 

We have ascended the Hill Difficulty (the language), and have 
taken our positions among the people. We have been publish- 
ing the word of reconciliation to tens of thousands every year. 
The message of salvation is listened to with attention. Some 
have boldly embraced Christianity. 

Let those who are disposed to charge us with inefficiency 
or to yield to despondency, look to the prophecies, the com- 
mands, and the promises of God's word. We are assured that 
we shall reap if we faint not. Hence, though we could not 
report a single case of conversion, we are not without encour- 
agement for persevering effort. 

We have done the best we could. We have laid the founda- 
tions of a mighty superstructure. This is no mean part of any 
work of importance. 

This last paragraph is one of the most significant and 
suggestive utterances of the great missionary. "We 
have done the best we could. We have laid the founda- 
tions of a mighty superstructure." The recurrence of 
this sentence in two letters, written a month apart, sug- 
gests that the idea was habitual and dominant in his 
mind. Courage, faith, patience, and hope are all implied 

it8 Yates The Missionary. 

by these words. From the beginning to the end of his 
hfe. Mr. Yates' conviction that China was to be a part 
of the kingdom of lieaven never faltered. He did his 
best, hiid soh'd foundations, and was content to be 
patient while waiting for results. 

Since Mr. Yates' death, Rev. R. T. Bryan, one of his 
co-workers, has said: 

He laid his foundations deep and broad in every thing. The 
stone foundation of the Shanghai Baptist Church, and the solid 
instruction which he gave the members, tell us of his thorough- 
ness. His thoroughness was also seen in his speaking knowl- 
edge of the Chinese language. I asked a very intelligent 
Chinese teacher, a few days ago, who was the best speaker of 
Chinese among the missionaries in Shanghai. He immediately 
replied that Dr. Yates was the best. I said that he was dead, 
had died six years ago. 'Yes," he said, "I know, but he is still 
the best speaker of Chinese." 

And Rev. R. J. Willingham, D.D.. has said: 

As to his methods of work he wrote: "We aim at solid work, 
no clap-trap, no sensational enterprises to write about. We 
believe thoroughly in schools; but, for evangelizing agency, our 
reliance is on the law and the gospel. The Lord bless his own 
appointed way." 

His work was to a large extent that of preparation, opening 
up the way for others, laying broad foundations for future 

Yates The Missionary. 119 


1857-1858— AGE 38-39. 

HE narrative in this chapter is condensed from 
]\Ir. Yates' reminiscences. The vigor, simpHc- 
ity, and vividness of its style remind one of 
Defoe or Stevenson, and afiford a hint as to 

what t' 

10 Hterature. 

In 1857 my health became so much impaired that my physi- 
cian advised me to leave Shanghai for a year in order to re- 
cuperate. I had no disease, and yet I had but little strength. 
I know now (1881) what was the matter. I was not sufficiently 
nourished. For ten years I had been trying to live on seven 
hundred and fifty *Spanish dollars. And out of that I tried 
to save a Httle for my family, so that they would not be entirely 
destitute in case anything happened to me. Mrs. Crawford and 
our daughter were in delicate health, and both needed a change. 
Under these circumstances it seemed to be my duty to leave 
with my family and Mrs. Crawford. Brother Crawford remained 
in charge of our work. 

On September ist we set sail in the good ship Ariel. A 
worse time could not have been selected; but we knew Captain 
Cutler well, and his ship could not be detained. In passing 
through the Chusan Islands, after four days of thick weather 
and falling barometer, the captain became anxious, expecting 
the approach of a typhoon and knowing that he was not in 
a favorable place to encounter it. 

At noon of the fifth day, before we were fairly clear of the 
islands, our good captain knew from the rapid falling of the 

*The Spanish dollar was at this time subject to a large dis- 
count in China. 

120 Yates The Missionary. 

barometer, the violence of the wind, and the heavy seas, that 
he was running right into the teeth of a typhoon. The only 
way of escape from our uncomfortable situation was to put the 
ship about and run for the islands, a distance of fifty or more 

Captain Cutler ran into the Chang San passage and anchored 
under shelter of an island several hundred feet high, with two 
anchors down and a hundred fathoms of cable on each. It was 
thought that the vessel would be able to ride out any storm. 

The darkness of the night came on apparently before the time. 
The center of the typoon had approached near enough to give 
us some idea of its terrible force. A description is impossible. 
What with the roar of the waves and the hissing of the wind, 
for it had gotten beyond a howl, an awful buzzing noise was 
all that could be distinguished. If there was thunder, it could 
not be heard. To sleep under such circumstances was an im- 

Some time during the night the watch on deck called down 
the gangway to the captain, "The ship is drifting ashore, sir." 
The captain rushed on deck, and I followed to the door of the 
gangway. After a hasty survey of the situation, he called out, 
"Call all hands to save ship; all hands to your axes; cut away 
the weather rigging." This was soon done. Then came the 
order, "Cut away the masts, fore and aft." When only a few 
blows had been struck on the main mast, all three of the masts 
were snapped ofY by the force of the wind and fell clear of the 
ship. It was now found that the ship had parted one cable, 
and had dragged the other nearly ten miles from where she had 
been anchored. As we rolled and pitched under the perpen- 
dicular wall of Chang San Island, like Paul, we "longed for 
the day." Our only hope of safety, humanly speaking, was in 
the ship's one anchor. 

The daylight revealed that the wind had veered, and now blew 
down the channel, and that the ship was drifting along a rocky 
shore. It was impossible to see more than two ships lengths 
away. The top of every wave was taken off by the violence of 
the wind and carried through the air in sheets and thick mist. 

Suddenly the men lashed at the wheel called out, "A large 

Yates The Missionary. 121 

Singapore junk coming down right athwart our bow!" Captain 
Cutler exclaimed, "If she strikes us, it will be all over with us!" 
I rushed to the gangway door, and there was the junk in the 
trough of the sea, coming right against our bow. We could 
do nothing to get out of the way; and the men on board of the 
junk had no control of her. On she came, and, strange to say, 
when about a hundred feet from us, the junk, without the help 
of man. turned and drifted past us, stern foremost, missing us 
about thirty feet. The men on board, grouped about the stump 
of the foremast, cried to us, "Save, save, save!" But nothing 
could be done to save them. The junk soon disappeared in 
thick mist, and doubtless went to pieces on the rocks. The 
movement of this junk to avoid us will forever remain a 
mystery. We thanked God for that deliverance. 

That night our good ship drifted directly toward a promon- 
tory which projected into the channel. This discovery, in the 
darkness, and not until we were very close to the perpendicular 
stone clifif, filled all hearts with consternation and dismay, for 
we were powerless to help ourselves. 

Captain Cutler, seeing that, if the anchor did not hold the 
ship, her stern, after a few more pitches, would be dashed 
against the rock wall, and that sudden destruction was imminent, 
furnished Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Yates, and myself with ropes. 
He told us, if the ship touched the rocks, to run on deck and 
tie ourselves to some part of the vessel. This was with the 
hope, I suppose, that our remains might be kept afloat and be 
picked up by some one. 

The report that the anchor was holding filled all hearts with 
joy and hope. It had probably caught upon a shelving rock, 
and the cable was strong enough to bear the strain. A man 
with a sounding line every few moments sung out, "Steady, 
sir." This report was thrilling. 

We put our little daughter into her berth. Occasionally she 
called out, "Father, is there no danger?" "Go to sleep, my 
child," was all that I could say. Soon she was fast asleep. Then 
the two ladies and I seated ourselves on the floor of the cabin 
(for we could not sit on chairs or benches) with the ropes in 
our hands. We spent a short time in earnest supplication for 

T22 Yates The Missionary. 

deliverance from impending peril. And our prayers were an- 
swered, for I then and there felt that all would be well. I said 
to Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Yates, "We shall have no use for 
these ropes; we are not to perish here. I feel that my work is 
not done. I have a realizing sense that God in his providence 
will bring us safely out of this great danger. Let us commit 
ourselves to him, and, resting there, try to find quiet of mind." 
One of them said, "Oh, I am so glad to hear you say that. 
Your faith helps me." Strange to say, notwithstanding we were 
tossed back and forth over the very jaws of death, we all, at 
about the same moment, fell into a deep sleep, and slept soundly 
till long after the day broke. 

In the morning we found ourselves far beyond that dreaded 
point. The wind had veered during the night, and at Hood tide 
the vessel swung away from the stone wall and drew our faith- 
ful anchor from its strong holding ground. When the ebb tide 
set in, the Ariel passed around the dangerous promontory. 
We were now fast drifting out to sea, and the wind was still 
blowing half a gale. Early in the afternoon the sea was open 
before us to the north and east, but on the south, within a mile 
or two, was a group of small islands extending out to sea about 
five miles. This danger was greater than the solid wall of 
Chang San, for our ship was drifting in their direction. The 
danger was apparent to all. 

Now was the time for seamanship. God helps those who 
help themselves, and there was no time to be lost. Shears were 
made ready on the forecastle in order that an old top-gallant 
sail might be hoisted on them, when the ship was turned around. 
But to make it turn seemed an impossibility. The captain ran 
out over the stern a large hawser to serve as a drag. At the 
same moment the anchor cable was let slip, for it was not pos- 
sible to hoist the heavy anchor with its hundred fathoms of 
cable. It went overboard, never again to be seen — or forgotten 
— by us. The ship gradually came round before the wind; the 
sail was raised, the hawser was cut; and, at last, just after dark, 
without masts or anchor, but with light and joyful hearts, we 
had passed all danger from islands and rocks. 

Early the next morning a vessel Vv'as sighted far to the lee- 

Yates The Missionary. 123 

ward. Captain Cutler hoisted the stars and stripes with the 
stars down, as a signal of distress. A gun was fired on the 
distant vessel to let us know that our signal was understood, 
and after a few hours she came to our rescue. With great dif^- 
culty a boat was lowered to take our party to what proved to 
be a Siamese vessel. 

Here was a new sensation. The waves were so high that when 
our boat was in the trough of the sea, we could see neither of 
the vessels. When we approached near the Siamese ship, and 
saw how heavily she was rolling, the mate of the Ariel, who 
was in charge of our boat, said, "It is not possible to board that 
vessel." The boat's crew called him a coward, and urged us 
not to feel uneasy. When near enough, I hailed the captain 
and asked if he thought we could board his ship. He thought 
we could if the men would be very careful not to allow the 
boat to be swamped when his vessel rolled to. It was a peril- 
ous undertaking, especially for ladies; but Mrs. Yates was calm. 

As we approached the ship's side, I saw that the rigging was 
full of swarthy men, Indiamen and Siamese, whose counten- 
ances betokened fixed determination. When alongside, it was 
found that the men in the rigging could not reach our little 
daughter's hands. As the ship rolled away, after this first efifort, 
a stalwart Indiaman, who had learned how by climbing cocoa- 
nut trees, suspended himself, head downward, by his feet, with 
which he grappled the rigging. When the vessel rolled to again, 
he clasped the little girl's hands. I let go and shut my eyes. 
His companions hauled the man up by the feet, and our 
daughter was safe on board. At the next roll of the ship, two 
men suspended in the same way grasped Mrs. Yaies' hands 
and arms, and, in a moment, when the vessel rolled back, she 
was suspended thirty or forty feet in the air. The men in the 
rigging hauled these men up by the feet till they could get hold 
of Mrs. Yates' arms. Then they hauled her up till she got her 
feet on the chain-plate and her hands on the ship's rail. There 
she remained until I got on board and took her over the rail. 
When we had all of us gotten safely on board, we fell on the 
deck from sheer exhaustion. 

Once on board, I was able to suggest a plan by which Mrs. 

124 Yates The Missionary. 

Crawford reached the deck with comparative ease and comfort. 
We dipped the White Elephant fiag and sailed for Shanghai, 
about two hundred miles distant, and in ten days reached that 
city. After all, the Ariel, with the help of a steam tug, had 
reached Shanghai a few hours before us, and Captain Cutler 
had informed Brother Crawford that our party had been put 
on board a Siamese vessel ten days before. As it was known 
in Shanghai that a Siamese vessel had been wrecked and all 
hands lost, he was overcome with apprehension and grief. His 
suffering, however, was of short duration. When, just after 
dark, I gave a vigorous rap at his gate, he was so overjoyed 
that (like the damsel who did not open the gate to Peter), 
though he knew my voice, he climbed to the top of the gate 
to see if his lost wife was really there before he opened to us. 

After a few weeks detention, the Ariel's cargo and passengers 
were transferred to the Nabob, a large clipper ship which sailed 
for New York November 17th, 1857. The captain assured us 
that she was well provided with every comfort for a company 
of invalids. We found that this was not true long before the 
voyage was half over. For, before passing the Cape of Good 
Hope, with two months of our voyage yet before us, the supply 
of flour, biscuit, coffee, tea, sugar, and salt had been used up. 
We asked the captain to put in at St. Helena for supplies, but 
he refused to do so, having been ordered to go direct to New 
York. There was a good supply of dried apples, but living on 
apple sauce three times a day becomes monotonous. Mrs. 
Yates sufifered keenly. 

I resolved to try to secure something fresh from the sea, 
as fish seemed to be abundant. Having procured a piece of 
southern pine, I made a bow longer than any that Tell ever saw. 
Out of a piece of white oak I made an arrow five feet long, and 
as large as my third finger. Among some curiosities which I 
was carrying home I happened to have a Chinese file, flat and 
about fifteen inches long. This, ground to a sharp point and 
barbed with a cold-chisel, furnished a spike for my arrow. A 
line was made fast in such a way as to make the spike end turn 
up when I hauled it in. 

The second day after all was in working order, three fine 

Yates The Missionary. 125 

fish, three feet long, were seen swimming after the ship not 
more than fifteen feet from the rudder. With some agitation I 
took good aim at the fish in the middle and let fly. My arrow 
went between two of them that seemed to be touching each 
other, and I hauled in nothing but my arrow. Some one said, 
"Do not be discouraged; that was a good beginning." But 
not another fish was seen during all the rest of the voyage! 

While walking on the deck one bright moonlight night, I 
observed numbers of rats, almost as large as squirrels, racing 
about the deck. The next night, having prepared plugs, and 
having located, as I supposed, all the holes from which they 
came, I stopped up all the latter. But next morning not a rat 
could be found on deck. They evidently had some back stair- 
way to their dens below which I could not find. I had become 
so desperate that I would have eaten every rat on board, but 
no opportunity was offered for me to try a stew or a broil. 

We all began to look much out of condition. But we did 
what we could to keep cheerful and nerve each other to the 
endurance, first of a few more weeks, and then of a few more 

When we were told, one evening, that we were only a hundred 
and fifty miles from New York, we rejoiced beyond measure 
at the certainty of a Fulton Market beefsteak the next day. 
Alas! before morning our vessel was grappling with a fierce 
northwest snow storm and a strong gale which was dead ahead. 
For eleven days we beat up and down the coast. Deck, ropes, 
and sails were iced over, and a third of the sailors were too 
badly frost bitten to leave their bunks. 

We landed at last, but in pitiable plight; for we were worn 
out in mind and body. All, however, were in a condition to 
recuperate, and as soon as we were able to travel, we went 

Missionaries to the far East will in the future never know 
anything about the four and six months voyage around the 
Cape. They will take fine steamers at San Francisco, live as 
if in a good hotel, and, within twenty days, be at Yokohama, 
only eight days from Shanghai. The way to the hundreds of 
millions of China has been made straight, short, and easy. 

i26 Yates The Missionary. 

Even more ''short and easy" has the way been made 
since Mr. Yates wrote these reminiscence^ in 1881. 
Yokohama can now be reached in twelve days from 



1 858- 1 859— AGE 39-40. 

ORE than eleven years had elapsed since Mr. 
Yates had left his native State. Of the wel- 
come he received, of the reunions enjoyed 
of the sadness with which he perceived the 
gajjs in the ranks of his acquamtanccs, he has left no 
"reminiscences." Many there doubtless were who, lik.; 
iiis friend Rev. Thomas Meredith, were sadly missed, 
liut the joy of meeting again his mother and father, his 
sisters and brothers far outweighed, with so sunny- 
natured a man, all depressing influences. 

1 he earlier months of his sojourn were spent with his 
kindred in "the old neighborhood," with frequent visits 
10 Raleigh. In May he lectured nightly for a week in 
that city to crowded audiences. Contemporary accounts 
represent him as "a pleasant and effective speaker " The 
fluency and case of his use of English were mentioned 
as remarkable for one who for so long a time had not 
spoken publicly in English. 

Part of the summer was spent in the mountains of 
North Carolina, that lovely Land of the Sky, which was 
then a terra incognita to the outside world. 7 hat it was 
not altogether a pleasure trip is suggested by a letter to 
Rev. J. B. Taylor. 

Green Level, N. C, September 27, 1858. 
My health is considerably improved by my visit to the moun- 
tains of Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Mrs. Yates 

Yates The Missionary. 127 

and I were the first foreign missionaries ever seen in that part 
of the State, and our presence created quite a sensation. I 
lectured at Lenoir, Statesville, and other places. I was also 
present at the Western Convention at Taylorsville. 

He returned in time to attend the meeting of his own 
old Association. Great crowds came from far and near 
to meet him, and also to hear the annual sermon, which, 
by special appointment, was preached by him. 

Rev. T. E. Skinner, D.D., relates an interesting in- 
cident in connection with this meeting. 

Some of the members of his old church were criticizing Mr. 
Yates for being dressed too fine. They said that if he had not 
gone to China, he would not have been able to dress any better 
than they did. Other brethren were greatly disturbed by this 
unbecoming talk, and asked me to say something about it. 
At first I hesitated, but finally concluded to allude to the matter. 
This I did, as delicately as I could, in a speech on Foreign 

After I took my seat, Mr. Yates arose with an almost heavenly 
smile on his countenance. He said that he did not dress ex- 
travagantly; that nearly everything that he wore at the time had 
been given to him by Brother Skinner and other brethren 
eleven years before, when he went to China. 

The effect was overwhelming. No one could be found who 
would confess that he had ever said anything about Mr. Yates' 
style of dress. My only answer was the playful remark that I 
wished I knew how to keep my clothing so well that I could 
look as Yates did in a suit of clothes eleven years old. 

The letter which follows was addressed to the churches 
of his mother Association. 

Wake Co., N. C, September 28, 1858. 
To the Raleigh Association: 

Allow me to call your serious attention to the action of the 
Association in 1846. Have you forgotten that at that session 
myself and wife were unanimously adopted as your mission- 
aries to China, and that you pledged yourselves for our support? 

128 Yates The Missionary. 

Your moderator, in announcing to us this action, said: "You 
and Sister Yates go down into the well, and we will hold the 

We, on our part, entered into this contract in good faith. 
We left our friends and native land with little or no expecta- 
tion of returning. For nearly eleven years we have labored in 
that dark region, have erected churches and dwellings, and, 
with the help of our colleagues, have constituted at Shanghai 
a church of twenty-six praying native men and women. We 
have preached the gospel and circulated the Scriptures among 
millions in that vast Empire. This is a small beginning. But 
let us not despise the day of small things. The history of mis- 
sions does not record a more successful mission for the same 
length of time. We have ample ground for hope that the gospel 
will ultimately triumph in that populous Empire. 

But have you performed your part of the contract? For a 
few years you acted nobly. By degrees your interest began 
to decline. At the recent session of the Association, I found, to 
my surprise and dismay, that about two-thirds of the churches 
had entirely let go of the rope. 

Dear brethren and sisters, what is the matter? Are you 
tired of us, or do you think that your work is done? Now 
we expect to return to our field of labor some time next year, 
if my health is confirmed. What are we to depend upon? Is 
the Raleigh Association prepared to support us, or shall we 
look to other associations and the Convention for support and 

Some think that we have done our duty and ought not to 
return. We do not think so, and the friends of missions do 
not think so. No, brethren, we are bound to go back. Our 
work is in China. Our hearts are there, and to China we 
must go. 

A few days later he attended the Centennial of the 
historic body to which he alludes below. 

Green Level, N. C, October 7, 1858. 
I have just returned from the one hundredth meeting of the 
Sandy Creek Association. Not less than five thousand people 

Yates The Missionary. 120 

were present. We had a glorious meeting. Our benevolent 
operations received a powerful impetus. 

My health is much improved, and I trust that the approach- 
ing winter will restore it. Sick or well, I must attempt to reach 
my field of labor next year. Shall I not have a reinforcement 
to go with me? 

At the State Convention which met in November, Mr. 
Yates was the central figure. Most of the delegates 
looked for the tirst time into the face of their missionary 
to China, whose name had already become a household 
word in the Baptist homes of the State. The business 
o^ the body was suspended that lie might be heard a't 
the most favorable hour. The minutes testity to the 
eloquence with which he spoke. The saintly and now 
sainted Wingate wrote a few days after the body ad- 

Who of us will forget the loved face of our Brother Yates, 
as he pressed so palpably upon our hearts the godlike work 
of missions, and called so touchinglj"- for men and means, but 
most of all for men. I trust that we shall all remember the 
earnest words that rang through all our meetings for men, 
and the melting prayer of our venerable Brother Stradley, and 
the tearful, earnest faces of those who bowed low around him 
to implore the God of his people to send forth laborers into 
his harvest. 

In his address to the Convention he alluded to the 
question, much mooted at the time, of the wisdom of 

"A Chinese Professorship" in the Greenville (now Louisville) 
Seminary. The object, as stated by Dr. Jeter, was "to prepare 
young men to enter the foreign field qualified for immediate 
and effective labor." Dr. Jeter had expressed his belief that 
"the plan is not only practicable, but eminently economical." 
Rev. T. P. Crawford had written from China that he could 
"see many powerful reasons for it," on the score of economy, 
health, time, and means. 

130 Yates The Missionary. 

Mr. Yates wrote an article (November 18, 1858) which was 
widely republished in Baptist newspapers. The whole question 
was so ably and thoroughly discussed therein that there was a 
general acquiescence in his conclusions. The following ex- 
tracts will serve to present his views, and, in part, his reasons 
for them: 

''The whole scheme is beautiful in theory, but, in my opinion, 
of very doubtful practicability. Its object is certainly very 
desirable. But if brethren expect to accomplish it by placing 
the candidate under a Chinese professor at the Seminary, they 
will, in my opinion, be very sadly disappointed. In my judg- 
ment, it is next to an impossibility, from the very nature of 
the Chinese spoken language, for any one to be qualified in this 
country for efifective labor among the Chinese. No system can 
be prepared which will teach the student, in America, how to 
hear and imitate these nice shades of sound. The ear requires 
no less education than the organs of speech. This can be suc- 
cessfully obtained only in China and among the people. There 
the ear, by hearing nothing else, more readily becomes ac- 
customed to the sounds of that strange language; and, besides, 
the missionary is compelled, from the day of his arrival, to use 
the language as fast as he acquires it. And, while acquiring the 
language, he becomes acquainted with the character and meth- 
ods of thought of the people, without which knowledge no mis- 
sionary can be an efifective laborer. 

"Again, if men are to be prepared for tlie different stations 
there must be several professors. There are mission stations 
at Canton, Amoy, Foo-Chow, Ningpo, and Shanghai. A pro- 
fessor from any one of these could not prepare a man to labor 
at any of the other points. Indeed, the dialects spoken at these 
several points are so different that a native preacher from any 
one of these places cannot preach so as to be understood at 
any one of the other places. And this diversity of dialects ex- 
tends throughout the Empire." 

The winter was spent at his father's honiC; and in an 
extended tour through the churches of Eastern Carolina. 
A little later he made a trip to the far South for the two- 

Yates The Missionary. 13; 

fold purpose of visiting relatives and awakening interest 
in missions. 

Green Level, N. C, March 28, 1859. 
I am just returning from a visit to my brother in Mississippi. 
I lectured on missions at many places. I was sorry to find but 
little interest in missions as now conducted. I heard much 
said about the changes necessary to be introduced into our mis- 
sionary organizations, the best plans of conducting missions, 
etc. I fear that the cause of missions is to receive a severe 
shock in May. May the great Head of the church bring order 
out of confusion! 

^ The reference here is to the meeting of the Southern 
Baptist Convention in May, 1859. ^ov many months 
a widely circulated and ably edited paper had^ been at 
tacking the policy of the Convention in managing its 
mission work through central boards. This meeting 
was looked forward to by brethren in all parts of the 
South with grave apprehension. 

During the four weeks preceding this meeting, Mr. 
Yates published four articles, entitled "Thoughts on 
Methods of Conducting Missions." As these papers arc 
of more than ephemeral interest, extracts are mserterl 
here. They mdicate in no uncertain tone the opinions 
of a wise and experienced missionary. 

The public discussion of the difificulties between the Boston 
Board and their missionaries (where real difficulties do exist) 
has started the enquiry at the South (where such difficulties do 
not exist), whether radical changes are not needed in our organ- 
izations. And this feeling is more general than many are in- 
clined to believe. This is a matter that calls for deHberate and 
prayful consideration before we act. It is much easier to break 
down an organization than to organize a better one. 

As I have been a missionary for eleven years under our present 
system, I may be excused for giving my views of the relative 
merits of the different plans proposed. 

Are there any difficulties existing between our missionaries 
and the Board at Richmond? / know of none. Has the Board 

132 Yates The Missionary. 

ever been in the habit of exercising undue authority over their 
fellow laborers in the foreign field? This charge has never, 
to my knowledge, been preferred against them by their mis- 
sionaries, who have the best means of knowing. The relations 
which have existed between them and the Board have been of 
a most fraternal character. The Board has uniformly occupied 
towards the Missions the position of an advisory council. And 
while they have given their advice in regard to matters of a 
general nature, they have ever acted on the principle that mis- 
sionaries on the ground knew best how to manage the details 
of missionary work. As almoners of the churches, they re- 
quire us to render a faithful account of all the money received 
by us for mission purposes. Could they do less without for- 
feiting the confidence of the churches? 

The Board has been censured for requiring a candidate to 
appear before them for examination before he can receive 
the appointment, thereby throwing discredit upon the associa- 
tion or church that ordained him, by arrogating to themselves 
a higher degree of ecclesiastical authority than is known among 

Now we should bear in mind that the Convention, in com- 
mitting to a Board this department of their benevolent opera- 
tions, have imposed upon a few men a weighty responsibility. 
We should remember, too, that when men from a distance (and 
nine out of ten are strangers) apply for appointment, the Board 
have no other adequate means of ascertaining their qualifica- 
tions than by a personal examination. Even by this means, 
they cannot always tell who will or will not make a good mis- 
sionary. If, with all their superior advantages for acquiring 
information, a Mission Board is sometimes disappointed, what 
might we not expect if they were required to appoint all who 
applied on the recommendation of their chi-rches? And since 
the Board would be blamed for all the failure and expense 
resulting from injudicious appointments, they cannot be too 
careful or too well acquainted with the men whom they send 

The change proposed is to abandon conventions and all 
general and centralizing organizations and throw the work of 

Yates The Missionary. 133 

evangelizing the world upon associations or individual churches. 
The object aimed at is to get rid of cumbrous machinery and 
the concentration of so much power in the hands of a few in- 

Now, in considering the changes proposed, let us not allow 
ourselves to be influenced by side issues, but let us keep in 
view the end to be attained — the conversion of the world. To 
have any other end in view, in seeking to break up our present 
plans of operations, is to subserve the interests of the wicked 

I object to change, first, because it will deprive missionaries 
of the benefits of concentration of labor. In the present state 
of our missions to China, nothing is more important for the 
permanence of the work. 

Let me write the history of a mission undertaken on the plan 
proposed. Few churches, or even associations, would be able 
to keep on the field more than one missionary family. The 
expense of reaching China, the cost or rent of a house, the 
salary of a teacher, and some incidentals, must necessarily be 
paid. If the missionary be blessed with health, and has tact 
in the acquisition of language, he may be able to preach after 
a residence of two or three years. He then locates a mission in 
one of the great cities of China and commences alone, without 
the counsel or sympathy of others, his arduous work. He labors 
faithfully three or four years, and this, with the time given to 
the study of the language, is more than the average term of 
service of missionaries in China. He may have been very suc- 
cessful, but sickness or death forces him to leave this interest- 
ing but immature work. 

The church or association now bestirs itself to find another 
man to occupy its vacated mission. In the course of one, two. 
or three years, the man is found; but on reaching the field he 
finds no traces of a former occupant except a dwelling and 
preaching place. He labors under the same disadvantages that 
his predecessor did, with perhaps more or less success; then 
he too is forced to leave the field. And so Hkewise with a 
third or fourth. Thus years may pass, thousands of dollars be 
expended, and valuable lives be sacrified without making any 

134 Yates The Missionary. 

permanent impression. Now this failure is not to be attributed 
to the men employed, but to the plan of operation. 

Our present plan, under a general organization, works very 
difTerently. Two, three, or more missionaries are sent to the 
same station to co-operate with each other. They aid each 
other in the acquisition of that most difficult language. In locat- 
ing a Mission, they have the united counsel of the whole Mis- 
sion. If one is forced to leave the field, the remainmg members 
keep the interests of the whole Mission together. 

The history of our Mission in Shanghai is in point. When, 
one after another, missionaries have been compelled to retire 
from that field, others were left to keep up the work. Rein- 
forcements have enabled us to make our efforts continuous 
and unbroken. And the history of the past does not afford a 
more successful Mission than the Baptist Mission at Shanghai. 

I am fully persuaded that a successful attempt to break down 
our present plan of operations abroad will effectually paralyze 
the efforts of the few in our churches who are interested in 
the Foreign Missionary enterprise. 

Moreover, the change would not lemove the evil complained 
of, i. c, the machinery of a Board. It an association or church 
should undertake to support a mission, the first important step 
would be to appoint an Executive Board or Committee to col- 
lect and transmit funds and confer with their missionary. In 
a word, this committee would do just the work that is now done 
by the Board in Richmond: with this exception, that, having 
less experience, they would probably not do the work so well. 
It is utterly impossible to carry on missions abroad by con- 
tributions from home without some kind of management by 
a Board or Committee. And the Board of a general organiza- 
tion, with a paid secretary, would be much more likely to attend 
to the work than a multiplicity of boards with secretaries render- 
ing gratuitous service. 

We need some plan for our home department which will 
throw more responsibility upon the brethren of the different 
States, will lead them to feel more identified with the work, 
and, at the same time, retain our central organization for the 
purpose of efficiency abroad. 

Yates The Missionary. 135 

Brethren, what think you of the following? 

Let the Foreign Mission Board discontinue all its agents, 
and let each State, by the State organization, or by a separate 
missionary society, appoint its own agent for Foreign Missions, 
a man in whom the churches have confidence. Let his whole 
time be devoted to the Foreign Mission work, collecting funds, 
infusing into pastors and churches the missionary spirit, and 
seeking out young men for the foreign field. 

Now, to stimulate the churches and agents in the different 
States, let each State seek out from among its young ministers 
a man who feels that it is his duty to go to the heathen, or 
adopt one already in the field who went out from their midst. 
Let the State fix the salary and become responsible to the 
Board, not only for that, but for all the expenses of that mis- 

Let the funds collected by the agents of the different States 
be sent up to the Board at Richmond, and by them be trans- 
mitted to the foreign field. Except the fixing of salaries, let 
the Board have the management of the Missions as they have 
been doing. Let the Missions, composed of men from the 
different States, report to the Board, and let the missionaries 
from the different States report their proportional part of the 
annual expense of the Mission to the respective State organiza- 
tions. And let each denominational organ devote one or two 
columns to the subject of missions. 

Some States will, perhaps, have no missionary. Others will 
contribute more than enough for the expenses of their men 
in the field. Others may not contribute enough. The surplus 
sent up by some States can be appropriated to meet the defici- 
encies of those who have sent out more men than they can 
support, and to defray the expenses of the Board. 

Mr. Yates spoke several times in the Convention in 
Richmond, emphasizing the brighter side of missionary 
life and describing the joy of preaching the gospel to 
the heathen. He took no part, however, in the debate 
between the giants upon the questions of policy which 
had been agitated among the Baptists of the South. He 
rejoiced, however, that the victory remained with those 

136 Yatks The Missionary. 

who opposed the abolition of the Boards and the destruc- 
tion of the Convention. 

An address of Mr. Yates at a mass meeting for Foreign 
Missions during this meeting was destined to influence 
profoundly the career of Mr. Charles H. R\land, who 
was at that time a student at Richmond College. That 
he afterwards became, and is no^s one of the most hon- 
ored and beloved ministers in Virginia hardly needs ^o 
be stated. Thirty-eight years after this meeting Dr. 
R viand writes: 

Mr. Yates was making a powerful appeal to young men to 
hear the call of God, prepare for the ministry, and go to China. 
My heart had been greatly troubled upon the subject, and I 
trembled and wept under this appeal. . . . That night decided 
the question with me. I then and there made the surrender, 
and said that I would do anything and go anywhere for the 
Master. Mr. Yates' speech was powerful, and I still have a 
vivid recollection of it. I have always claimed him as my father 
in the ministry. 

Of this result of his address Mr. Yates remamed in 
ignorance for a quarter of a century. Of the joy that the 
belated disclosure brought to the heart of the lonely 
missionary on the twenty-fifth anniversary of this oc- 
casion, he will himself tell in due order. 

Mr. Yates was encouraged at this time b^ the hope 
that the Shanghai mission would be strongly leinforced 
Of one of the expected recruits he wrote: 

May 2-], 1859. 

If Brother Rohrer is to go to Shanghai, it would be very 
desirable for him to go with me. I have in four hundred man- 
uscript pages a dictionary of the Shanghai dialect, and could 
teach him more Chinese during the voyage than he could learn 
in a year at Shanghai. 

I have travelled over five thousand miles since I have been lii 
the United States, and think that I have not travelled in vain. 

During the summer Mr. Yates appealed to the Board, 

Yates The Missionary. 137 

and not without success, to pay their missionaries sal- 
aries which would enable them to lay by something for 
a rainy day. In this appeal he said that his loyalty and 
affection would not be affected by the refusal of the 

For one, I am determined to co-operate with the Board. I have 
no confidence in the stability of any faction that may spring 
up in opposition to the Board. As servants of Jesus, we are 
willing to labor among the heathen for a mere support, but we 
are not wilHng to throw ourselves or our families upon the 
sympathies of the churches when we are no longer able to 
perform active service. No missionary with natural feelings 
can prevent the oft-recurring enquiry, what will become of my 
family when T fall? This hangs like an incubus upon the minds 
of your missionaries and greatly interferes with their usefulness. 

He suggested that the Board could 

"Remove this incubus, by increasing from this time forth th^, 
salaries of their missionaries and allowing them to arrange to 
take care of themselves. This would place them on an equality 
with other salaried men." 

The same subject is further discussed in the two letters 
to Rev. A. M. Poindexter: 

Green Level, N, C, August 8, 1859. 

I never can, with my consent, place my family or myself, 
when I am no longer able to render active service abroad, in 
the position of paupers upon the charities of the Board or the 

It is the policy of the Board, in fixing the allowance of mis- 
sionaries, to give "a comfortable support only." And when the 
missionary is no longer able to earn a comfortable support, 
he or his widow "may receive such special appropriations, if 
in destitute circumstances, as the nature of the case may 

Dear brethren of the Board, the policy referred to is wrong. 
Your missionaries have certain duties to perform towards their 
families which it is impossible for them to discharge if this 
policy is enforced. The history of employer and employee does 

138 Yat?:s The Missionary. 

not furnish another instance where the employee is expected 
to serve for Hfe for a bare support. 

Green Level, N. C, September 24, 1859. 

I presented the matter to the brethren of the Board and 
asked them to fix a sum and let us have it now, in the way of 
salary, in order that, when we are no longer able to render 
active service, we may be independent of the Board, and the 
Board be under no obligation to support us. The amount 
allowed by the Board was $150 a year more than we have been 

If the love of money possessed our bosoms, it would be com- 
paratively easy for us to realize thousands where, by this change, 
we realize one. I love my work more than I do tens of thou- 
sands of money, or I could now have been a wealthy man. 
I have never stepped aside from my work to make a dollar. 

Many reasons might be assigned why I desired the change. 
I will, however, be content with a single statement. I desire 
to save myself and family, in the hour of destitution and afflic- 
tion, the mortification of having to beg. 

How can you expect the self-denial of those who go, to be 
greater than that of those who send? Are not your mission- 
aries a type of those who send them? By what scriptural au- 
thority do you require your missionaries to sacrifice every- 
thing but an economical support, for the propagation of the 
gospel, while the same class of men at home contribute only 
what they can spare without inconvenience? Is not the world 
the field; and are not Christians as much bound to make sacri- 
fices for Christ in one part of the field as in another? 

Mr. Yates and his wife, anxious that their daughter 
should be reared under the influences of American civili- 
zation, had almost decided to leave her in North Caro- 
lina to be educated. JUit when the time for parting came, 
they could not bring themselves to the point of leaving 
their only child behind them. 

Nothing was lost by their final decision to take their 
daughter back to China with them. When, more than 
twenty years afterwards, the daughter visited Richmond, 

Yates The Missionary. 139 

a lady remarked: ''What a pity that all our younG: 

women were not born and reared in China!" Subsequent 

pages will reveal Mr. Yates' anxiety as to the education 

of his child, and the fact that she was enabled to spend 

two years in the excellent schools of Geneva, m Switzer 


New York, October 22, 1859. 
To the Recorder: 

We are still in New York, expecting to sail for our distant 
home in a few days. We go in the ship "Eureka." She is 
commanded by an old friend of mine. Captain Cutler. He is 
a member of a Baptist church, and takes his wife and child with 
him. So far as ship and captain are concerned, we are very 
fortunate. With the blessing of God, we hope to have a safe 
and pleasant voyage, and to reach our home by March 12th. 

Very dear brethren, our visit to the United States is over. 
We have seen your faces, enjoyed your society, and endeavored 
to interest you in our work. May the young men who have 
expressed to me a deep interest in the foreign field continue 
to ask where the Lord would have them labor. And when the 
Spirit directs, may they never consult with flesh and blood, 
but take up the cross and follow whithersoever he may lead. 

Could I meet my brethren in the approaching Convention, 
we would strive to realize together that the world is estranged 
from God, that it must be converted to God, and that we are 
the instruments for accomplishing this end. Let us all strive, 
with our talents, our fortunes, and all our influence, to bring 
a lost world back to God. 

Brethren, pray for us, that an effectual door may be opened 
to us, and that we may win many souls to Christ. Brethren, 
sisters, friends, farewell. Let us strive to meet in heaven. The 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 

140 Yates The Missionary. 


SUPPORTING A MISSION 1860-1865 AGE 4 1 -46. 

SHREW13 calculation it was, in the letter at 
the end of the last chapter, or else a happ> 
guess, which came within two days of the 

length of a voyage of over four months on a 

sailing vessel. This voyage was in marked contrast to 
that which had brought Mr. Yates and his companions 
to America, being uneventful and altogether pleasant. 
Another long stadium of steady and successful work 

is now entered. 

Shanghai, March 31, i860. 

We arrived here March loth, and a warm welcome awaited 

us. The native members of our little church, in particular, 

were delighted to see us back again. Some of them said, "Well, 

now he can begin anew again." They have had rather a trying 

time for the last eight months, several of them having been 

persecuted on account of their religion. 

Shanghai, April 27, i860. 
To his Sister: 

A young man who came out in our ship got his leg broken, 
and we have brought him to our house to take care of him. 
He was very kind and pleasant to ub. on the way out, and we 
are glad to do something for him. 

Shanghai, May 14, i860. 

When we commenced operations here in 1847, the officials 
and the scribes and Pharisees of this great city ignored the 
existence of the Christian missionaries. They evinced a super- 
cilious regard for the influence of a few Christians upon the 
people. Of late, quite a change has come over them. The 
wealthy are contributing funds, and Chinese scholars are es- 
tablishing opposition schools in different parts of the city. 

Yates The Missionary. 141 

Shanghai, May 30, i860. 
To his Father: 

Many of the people of Shanghai are moving away. They 
have taken a panic, and think it safer somewhere else than in 
Shanghai. The Rebels are moving upon Soochow. There is, 
however, no danger. The English and French have eight or 
ten thousand troops in this port, and have to-day put a thousand 
men in different positions around the city to guard it against 
the Rebels. They are determined that this city shall not be again 
disturbed by lawless bands. There is a guard of two hundred 
men in about two hundred yards of my house. The native au- 
thorities are apprehending quite a number of suspicious char- 
acters. Within the last three days, forty-one of these poor 
unfortunate creatures have been beheaded. This morning ten 
were beheaded not far from my house. Their heads are stuck 
up over the city gates as a warning. 

Shanghai, August i, iSOo. 

The Rebellion has broken out afresh. The allied French and 
English armies have occupied Shanghai, Our congregations 
are small, consisting mainly of Chinese from the interior. 
Fortunately, the year before I sailed for the United States, 
I studied the Mandarin language, and now I am able to preach 
to these strangers in their own language. Many of them seem 
much interested in the gospel. 

I do not feel that I was much benefited by my visit to the 
States; spiritually, I sustained a serious injury. 

Shanghai, August 9, i860. 
The Rebels now have the whole of this province, except 
Shanghai and a few small places. Under existing circumstances 
we can do but little aggressive work. The great mass of the 
people moved into the country more than a month ago. 

Shanghai, September 2, i860. 
This is truly a trying time for us and our work. Rebels, 
batteries, barricades, guards, and soldiers, with all the vices con- 
sequent upon having troops quartered upon a heathen people, 
absorb the attention of the few who have not fled to some place 
of supposed safety. But now that we can do little more than 

142 Yates The Missionary. 

hold on, God is at work. The Chinese have been humbled; an 

effectual door will soon be opened. 

Shanghai, October i, i860. 

The great mass of the population of the city have not returned 
to their homes, consequently our congregations at Sung-way- 
dong are small. Truly this is a dark hour for us at Shanghai. 

My services at Kiaw-hwo-dong are well attended. There are 
many who come regularly and manifest some interest in the 
gospel. A rice merchant near our place has been interested 
for years. Hitherto he has not believed that he could keep the 
Sabbath and do a living business during the week. He is now 
prepared to obey Christ, let the consequences to his worldly 
interests be what they may. 

The rice merchant referred to above, and whose bap- 
tism is mentioned in the next letter, was Wong Yih San 
Dr. Yates' letters of a later period will have much to sav 
of his consecration, self-denial, and usefulness. No na- 
tive Chinese Christian has probably more iully illus- 
trated the transforming power of the grace of God than 
has this man, who became widely known and loved as 
Deacon Wong. It will of course be remembered that he 
and Wong Ping San, the native pastor, were quite dis- 
tinct persons. 

Shanghai, October 20, i860. 

I had the pleasure, last Sabbath, of baptizing in the baptistry 
of our church a very interesting man named Wong. He is a 
merchant of some standing, a near neighbor of mine, and a man 
of considerable influence. 

He has been interested two or three years; indeed, at one time 
he offered himself for baptism. Owing to some difficulty in 
regard to keeping the Sabbath, he was not received. Now he 
has joy and peace in believing; his desire is to obey Christ, 
and he finds no difficulty in closing his store on the Sabbath. 

There is a freshness about a young convert who has just come 
out of heathen darkness that is very refreshing. 

Shanghai, November 30, i860. 
I am encouraged in my work. The congregation at the 
Kiaw-hwo-dong is very good. The chapel is crowded when- 

Yates The Missionary. 143 

ever I open it, day or night, and several seem to be more or 
less interested. Many attend services regularly three times a 
week. I hope, ere long, to gather a harvest here. 

Shanghai, December 30, i860. 
To his Sister: 

We have been blessed with health since we reached home, 
but have been surrounded with war and bloodshed. In all these 
trials we have been mercifully preserved. The English and 
French war with the Chinese is now over. The people who 
fled when the Rebels came last summer have returned to their 
homes. And, in addition to the people of this place, there are 
not less than a hundred thousand who have fled from other 
places which have been taken by the Rebels. Imagine, if you 
can, a field seven miles in circumference, thick with men and 
women, with their children, dogs, cats, and chickens about 
their feet, and you will have some idea of the crowd at Shanghai. 
And if you will look closely, you will see me, a head and 
shoulders above the crowd, trying to teach them about the 
way of life. 

Though surrounded by many difficulties, we are encouraged 
in our work. My church is a long way ahead of yours. There 
are now twenty-four members. They have a weekly prayer 
meeting among themselves. Seven of the male members pray 
in public, and most of the others pray in their families. They 
meet together every Sabbath for worship. Compare this state 
of religious culture among our few with almost any of our 
churches at home, and is there any ground for discouragement? 
In our little flock, there are two whom we call preachers. 
Others speak in public. 

Shanghai, December 30, i860. 

This has been a bad year for missionary work. The Anglo- 
French war with the Chinese has greatly interfered with our 
operations. But it will be overruled for good. The Tien-Tsin 
Treaty opens for Mission work the whole Empire; that is, so 
far as treaty stipulations can possibly do so. 

Shanghai, January 21, 1861. 
In almost every congregation there are a few men of the 
world in whom the minister feels more than ordinary interest, 

144 Yat?:s The Missionary. 

not only for the salvation of their own souls, but because of 
their inlluence over others. I have long had two such men as 
my near neighbors, Mr. Soong and Mr. Tsang. Last summer, 
when the rebels came before the city, it was in my power to do 
Mr. Soong and his family a favor. During the excitement, 
I had an opportunity of making a personal appeal to him in 
regard to his soul. A few weeks afterwards he began to attend 
my services occasionally. At first he would sit near the door 
and leave before the services ended. He is now a regular at- 
tendant three times a week, and has moved up gradually, till 
now he sits within four seats of the pulpit. He appears to be 
deeply interested. 

Mr. Tsang is the man from whom our mission property was 
purchased. Though I have known him for years, and though 
he lives within twenty steps of our chapel, I have never seen 
him or any of his family in it until recently. They would laugh 
at those of the neighbors who did go. 

Some six weeks ago, Mr. Tsang got into a difficulty with 
a French officer, and was imprisoned by the native authorities. 
As I had been an eye-witness of the unfortunate affair, I in- 
terested myself in his behalf, and rescued him from a heavy 
punishment and many months in prison. He is now a regular 
attendant at my night services. Yesterday Mrs. Yates pre- 
vailed on his wife and two of his tenants to be at church for 
the first time. Oh, that the Lord would bring these men to 
a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ! When they come, they 
will bring a long train with them. 

Shanghai, March 20, 1861. 

The political condition of our once glorious Union is truly 
alarming. That it should make it necessary to reduce our 
annual estimate by one-third, and that the Board should have 
to resolve to send out no more missionaries under existing 
circumstances, confounds me beyond measure. If the Southern 
States secede, and a civil war ensues, what are we to do? This 
is a dark providence, occurring, too, just at the time when we 
ought not to retrench, but double and multiply ail the appli- 
ances necessary to bring the gospel to bear on, the millions 
who have recently been made accessible. 

Yates The Missionary. 145 

March 21. — We have just received Brother Taylor's letter 
of December 25th. and news via England to January loth. 
Five States have seceded! May the God of nations save our 
country from a fratricidal war! Viewing the whole matter 
from this distant point of observation, our people, North and 
South, seem to be mad. 

The Lord bless us and sustain us in this dawn of darkness 
and great anxiety. 

During the Civil War in America, when the Southern 
States were almost entirely cut off from intercourse with 
the outside world, there were long and anxious inter- 
vals during which the Board heard nothing from theii 

It is not unlikely that during some of these years Mr. 
Yates was doing much of the best work of his life. At 
any ratC; there is no question that, being compelled to 
enter government employ as a means of support, he 
greatly enlarged his opportunities for subsequent useful- 

The summer of 1862 was a trying one to the mission- 
aries in vShanghai. Asiatic cholera prevailed m its most 
fatal form and carried off hundreds of thousands of vic- 
tims. The city was still threatened by the Rebels, and 
panics were not infrequent. The church btiilding insid-i 
the walls had been destroyed by fire. Liberal subscrip- 
tions had been made by the residents of Shanghai for 
Its restoration, and the work was then nearly completed. 
The same fire had destroyed the entire stock of Bibles 
and books. There was not a copy in the Mission for 

In a letter to a friend, written twenty-three years afte- 
this time. Dr. Yates gave the details of an incident which 
had both a serious and an amusing side. 

During the bad cholera season of 1862, my servant reported 
to me just before night that the body of a dead man, stripped 
of clothing, had been left at my front gate. It was a rainy even- 

146 Yates The Missionary. 

ing in September. I knew that some poor family had left it 
there in the hope that I would give it a decent burial. 

Before dark, I went out and examined the corpse. It was as 
cold as clay, except the region of the heart, where there was 
some indication of warmth. There was no indication that he 
breathed, even when a lighted candle was applied to his nostrils. 
I ordered some straw to be brought, placed him on it, and 
poured a half teaspoonful of diluted pain-killer down his throat. 
Two hours afterwards I went out and, to my astonishment, 
found that the warmth about the heart still continued. I ad- 
ministered a double dose of the remedy and added more straw, 
for it was raining. 

Early the next morning I went out and found the man alive 
and seated against the wall. I took him in, put warm clothing 
on him, gave him a mild stimulant and fluid nourishment every 
hour. Before night he was able to walk to his house, which 
was not very far distant. Imagine the surprise of his family at 
seeing its head return to them from the spirit world dressed 
as a foreigner. The fame of this cure went far and wide. 

The man refused to receive religious instruction. He was a 
Buddhist, and said that his daily prayer to Buddha was that 
his spirit, at death, might be transmigrated into a donkey for 
me to ride in the spirit world, because I had given him so 
many more years to eat rice and enjoy life. For years he was 
known as my donkey, and was generally called by that name. 

Every summer the Chinese suffer more or less from cholera. 
In some cases it assumes a peculiar form, and is attended with 
a terrible cramp. In that case, unless speedy relief is given, the 
patient dies in about two hours. 

Relief is sought, not from a doctor, but from a barber. With 
a large needle he punctures the body in various places, thrust- 
ing in his needle one or two inches deep into the back of the 
neck and the stomach. The last thrust is under the patient's 
tongue. All this seems more like butchering than curing a 
man; but in many cases the effect is to relax the cramped 
muscles, and the patient slowly recovers. 

Shanghai, October 6, 1862. 
The present condition of things at home induces the belief 

Yates The Missionary. 147 

that we cannot reasonably calculate on a support through the 
usual channels. We are therefore looking about us for the 
means of supporting ourselves for the time, without abandon- 
ing our missionary work. 

The Municipal Council of the Foreign Community has ofifered 
me the position of Interpreter and Superintendent of Chinese 
taxes. This position will enable me to gain an unbounded 
influence over a population of not less than 80,000 Chinese. 

It will not interfere materially with my labors in the city. 
I have, therefore, pretty well made up my mind to accept the 
appointment. The pay will be about $2,000 a year. This will 
support my family and enable me to do missionary work. 

He was rii^ht in believiiii:^ that he would gain large 
inliUence, though it was probably due more to the man 
than to the position. 

After Mr. Yates' death, Rev. T. E. Skinnei, D.D., of 
Raleigh, N. C, wrote: 

His acquaintance with the highest mandarins of China, and 
his popularity with the Chinese authorities and the common 
people, were only discovered by us after we learned that he 
had been made Interpreter in the Foreign Courts, and that he 
at the same time acted as Assistant Consul for the United 

He spoke the Chinese language so perfectly that tew of the 
natives could be persuaded that he w^as not a Chinaman himself. 

A merchant from Shanghai told me in London that Dr. 
Yates had more influence over the Chinese, and also over 
foreigners, than any other person in Shanghai. 

Dr. William Muirhead, of the London Missionary 
Society, writing from Shanghai, under date oi February 
14, 1897, says: 

Dr. Yates' stalwart appearance, his activity in missionary 
work, and his habit of mingling largely with the people, brought 
him into wide notice, while, it is well known, he performed 
many acts of philanthropic usefulness among the Chinese. 

In consequence of the war in the United States, he was led 

148 Yates The Missionary. 

to occupy positions in connection with the Municipal Council 
and the United States Consulate, which enabled him to exert 
a beneficial influence in the interests of his mission work. He 
was also, in this way, placed in relations to the foreign com- 
munity at Shanghai, which were altogether unique, and which 
increased the respect and honor with which he was regarded, 
both in his private and public capacity. 

Dr. Yates was a devoted servant of Jesus Christ. The great 
end and object of his life was preaching the gospel. He was 
a pioneer in this part of the field and was successful in a high 
degree. He helped to lay the foundations of what is a growing 
church here. It would have been a matter of intense interest 
to him had he been spared to witness the course of things now 
going on in China. 

More recently Rev. R. H. Graves has said: 

Among the traits which made his life the forceful one that 
it was, I would put his insight into human nature, especially 
Chinese nature. The Chinese regarded him as having an almost 
supernatural knowledge of the human heart. When he fixed 
his keen glance on a man, and discerned the motives that 
prompted him, the man felt that he saw him through and 

His experience as assessor in the Mixed Court also gave him 
this knowledge of character. He told me several instances of 
his being requested by merchants to detect dishonesty in their 
employees, and always with success. 

An illustration of his penetration of character is fur- 
nished by one of Mr. Yates' intimate friends: 

After Mr. Yates had been in China a number of years, and 
had won the confidence of the natives, an ofificial sought an 
interview with him, regarding him in the light of a prophet. 
He stated that he had lost a sum of money and many valuable 
jewels, and besought the missionary's aid in recovering them. 
Yates replied that he was not a prophet nor an expert in that 
kind of work. The Chinese olificer, however, continued to beg 
the great foreigner to help him, and intimated that he thought 
that some one of his sixteen servants might be the guilty party. 

Yates The Missionary. 149 

Finally Dr. Yates agreed to try, on the condition that the cul- 
prit, if discovered, should not be cruelly punished. So he sat 
in a room alone, and the Chinaman, at his request, sent in one 
servant at a time. As the first entered, Mr. Yates looked him 
steadily into the eyes, and the servant gazed at Yates. "Pass 
on, sir." was Dr. Yates' order. In came the second servant, 
and he likewise was ordered to pass out. In this way fifteen 
of the servants came in and were ordered to pass on. When 
the last of the sixteen entered, he was seen to be better dressed 
than the others. He flashed his eye on the missionary and then 
looked down and began to put on some airs. "Stop, sir," said 
Mr. Yates, and called for the master to come in. "This is the 
fellow who took your money," remarked Dr. Yates. "Is it 
possible," said the officer. "He is the one whom I have trusted 
more than any of them." The servant at first denied it. Dr. 
Yates made a sign for the master to leave the room, leaving 
them alone together. After a moment Yates rose to his full 
height, confronted the fellow, and said: "Now, sir; at once show 
me that money!" The rogue hastened to a private room, Yates 
closely following him, and there produced the money and 

Dr. Lambiith, formerly of the Methodist mission, re- 
ferring to this incident, writes: 

The Chinese were more certain than ever, after this occur- 
rence, that Mr. Yates possessed some miraculous power which 
enabled him to read their inmost thoughts. Upon being ques- 
tioned afterwards as to the secret of his being able to detect the 
thief, Mr. Yates replied, "There was one man who kept swallow- 
mg every time I fixed my eye on him. After a long experience 
with the Chinese, I have found ^his a positive indication of 
guilt and consequent embarrassment." 

Shanghai, April 6, 1863. 
To his Father: 

Your letter of December, 1861, was the last that we have 

received from any one in North Carolina. You have doubtless 

felt much anxiety on our account. If this reaches you it will 

put your mind at rest, so far as we are concerned. My family 

is provided for. When I saw the dark day approaching, I 

150 Yates The Missionary. 

secured a little money and purchased a piece of land when 
house lots were quite low. Within a few months the value of 
land increased so much that I was able to rent this lot of ground 
for ten years, payable yearly in advance, for a sum sufficient 
to enable me to pay for the lot out of the first year's rent. As 
soon as the deed for the first lot was registered, I mortgaged 
the land to procure money to purchase another lot. This I have 
also rented for ten years at a rate sufficient to enable me to 
pay for it out of the first years rent. The income from these 
lots will in a few months be sufficient to support my family. 
For the last five months, I have been acting as Interpreter to 
the English and American Municipal Council. I work four 
or five hours per day, for which they pay me a little over three 
thousand dollars. I mean Mexican dollars. This is sufficient 
to support my family and enable me to carry on my missionary 
work. I have abundant reason to be thankful to God for his 
mercy to me and mine in this our time of great need. 

Our daughter's education has been a source of anxiety to 
us. We had expected to send her to Raleigh this spring. This 
plan is now impracticable. And her education cannot be de- 
ferred. I have made up my mind to remain alone in my work 
in Shanghai while Mrs. Yates and my daughter go to Geneva, 
in Switzerland. It is a sore trial, but duty to an only child 
seems to demand it. 

I am sending this letter by way of Nassau, with the hope 
that it may run the blockade. I am very anxious to hear again 
from home. I do not dare to hope that I shall hear that you 
are all alive. Some of my relations have doubtless fallen in 

Shanghai, September 20, 1863. 
To his Parents: 

Though there is but little hope of this note ever reaching 
you, I wish to do all in my power to communicate with you. 

I shall, with the blessing of God, leave here in March or 
April to join my family in Switzerland. I expect to spend 
about a year away, recruiting my health; and then we will all 
return together to Shanghai. At least, this is our plan at 
present. We cannot tell what the future may develop. 

Yates The Missionary. 151 

I am all alone. My family is in Europe, and all the other 
members of the Mission are settled in Shantung. This is a 
dark day for Shanghai. Most of the missionaries have sought 
other fields of labor. There are here only three or four mis- 
sionaries to preach the gospel. One million eight hundred 
thousand souls! what are we among so many? Most of those 
here able to preach will leave soon. Bishop Boone, many 
years a missionary, cannot last long. He is feeble. Dr. IMuir- 
head, of the London Mission, will go home soon. 

Shanghai, September 20. 1863. 
I am meeting all the expenses of the Mission at present. 
The Municipal Council pay me ten dollars per day, and I main- 
tain four regular services in my missionary work each week. 

Shanghai, October 7, 1863. 

I know you are anxious about our support. On this point 
set your mind at rest. I have a good position as Interpreter 
at the Municipal Council. There I have but little work to do, 
simply to talk Chinese, some days fifteen minutes, some days 
half an hour. For this service. I receive three hundred Mex- 
ican dollars each month. This is enough to support me and 
my family; they are in Europe. And, as this work does not 
interfere with my mission work, I shall continue in the employ 
of the Council until the cruel war in America is over. 

I have not been strong this summer, and I feel that it will 
be prudent for me to spend the summer of 1864 away from 
Shanghai. In April I expect to join my family in Geneva, 
and, after spending some months or a year with them, bring 
them back with me to Shanghai. 

I am entirely alone now. The health of Brother and Sister 
Crawford failed in July. The doctor told them that they could 
not safely remain longer at Shanghai. They left, as soon as 
they were able to travel, for Shantung, in the north of China. 
I have heard from them. They arrived in pretty good health. 
I shipped all their furniture only three days ago. I am alone, 
and lonely it is. 

I am encouraged in my work. Last week had a very interest- 
ing case of conversion. 

IC2 Yates The Missionary. 


Few and infrequent were the letters of Mr. Yates 
which reached his friends in America after the blockade 
had become effectual. Fortunately, this gap can be filled 
in part by a letter from Rev. T. E. Skinner, D.D. 

In 1864 Mr. Yates learned that I was in England, and wrote 
to me from Geneva to meet him in Paris on the fifteenth of 
July, the fete day of Napolean III. 

On my arrival at the Grand Hotel, the appointed place of 
rendezvous, I enquired of the intelligence man if Mr. Vates had 
arrived. 'Yes, sir," he answered, '"and he requests that you 
remain in until he returns." Mr. Yates had impressed this 
man, as he did all whom he met, as a great personage. He 
took him to be an American diplomat. 

Oh, how many incidents rise up before my mind's eye as 
1 recall the days we spent together in Paris. It was estimated 
that a million and a half of strangers were in the city to witness 
the celebration of the Emperor's birthday. All were polite and 
good humored. A lady from Shanghai was at the Grand Hotel 
with her two sons whom she had brought to Paris to be edu- 
cated. Her husband, one of the largest merchants of Shanghai, 
had, before his death been a special friend of Mr. Yates. She 
was a native of Mobile. Though nearly as tall as Yates, and 
very large, she was quite active and a good walker. The 
pyrotechnic display on the night of the fete surpassed all power 
of description. The crowd was so dense that one could move 
only as it surged and swayed. In this ocean of humanity, 
Yates, with the lady on his arm, became separated from me. 
At the same time a sudden movement of the crowd pressed 
me against a gentleman and his lady. I apologized in English, 
and then discovered that I was speaking to my old school- 
mate, Captain James Waddell, of the S. S. Shenandoah. We 
had not met for thirty years until that night. The next day 
he called and was very attentive to Dr. Yates and myself. 
Indeed, we should have missed much of Paris but for his 

I was surprised to learn that Mr. Yates expected me to go 
with him to Geneva; he said that he had promised Mrs. Yates 
and Annie to bring me back with him. When I announced my 

Yates The Missionary. 153 

decision to return to England, with candor and love he asked 
me if it was the expense that decided me. Then he added: "It 
shall not cost you anything if you will accept it from me as a 
brother beloved; and remember, Skinner, I have never had an 
opportunity before of expressing my gratitude for the many 
favors you rendered me when friends were few." 

The two weeks that I spent with him among the mountains 
of Switzerland and in Geneva were among the happiest of my 
long and eventful life. We worshipped together m Calvin's 
old church and stood together at his (supposed) grave. We 
met D'Aubigne, who reminded me much of Dr. Wayland. One 
of Mr. Yates' near neighbors in Geneva was Mrs. Mumford, 
from Columbus, Ga. She was a great sufiferer, and received no 
relief from the physicians of Europe. In 1871, while I was 
pastor in Columbus, Dr. Yates visited me for two weeks. But 
so greatly had he impressed Mrs. Mumford that she vehemently 
opposed Mr. Yates' stopping at my house, and made him her 
guest. Her father, though not a Christian, gave him $200 for 
his work in Shanghai. 

Thus it was that wherever Yates was known, he charmed 
and magnetized the people. 

He returned with me to England. There we spent another 
delightful fortnight together, visiting Warwick Castle, Kenil- 
worth, Stratford on Avon, and other interesting places in the 
neighborhood of Leamington, where my family were residing 
at the time. 

Geneva, September, 1864. 

To his Father: 

Your letter was the first that I have received from you since 
my arrival in Switzerland. 

I have rather bad news from Shanghai. Real estate has 
gone down very much. I shall, however, be able to live. Mr. 

did a very imprudent thing in publishing a private 

note of mine, in which, to quiet your minds, I wrote that I 
had an income of $6,000. At that time I had a salary of $4,800. 
Now I am not receiving that salary, and the property I have 
at Shanghai is, on account of the American war, greatly de- 
preciated^in value. So you see my currency is somewhat de- 

154 Yates The Missionary. 

predated, as well as yours. I fear that that letter will do both 
me and the cause of missions much injury. 

I am glad to hear that you still keep up the Sabbath school, 
and that you are able to do so much for the wives of the brave 

Had Mr. Yates been less consecrated to the work to 
AA'hich he believed God had called him, he could doubt 
less have amassed a large fortune. It happened thac 
Hon. \\^illie P. Mangum, who had been a fellow student 
with him at Wake Forest College, was United States 
Consul General in China. This gentleman urged the 
missionary, of whose fine business gifts he was well 
Jiware, to devote more attention to the making of money. 
But Mr. Yates fled from the temptation of becoming 
secularized. He was glad to be able to support himself 
while cut off from the wSouthern churches. And, having 
entered into government emplov as a means of support, 
he was able to save from his earnings. His savings and 
a moderate inheritance wdiich came to his wife werj 
wisely invested. But these possessions, like their owner, 
were consecrated to the Master's use. Subscjuent pages 
will tell of the wise and faithful administralion of his 

As a mattter of fact, Mr. Yates used very sparingly 
his opportunities for the accumulation of wealth. Mr. 
Mangum, who knew well the man and the cliances that 
he had, did not hesitate to declare that Mr. Yates, if he 
had wished to do so, could have made half a million 
dollars in China. 

The following letter reached its destination in the midst 
of the gloomy days of reconstruction. About fou^ 
months had elapsed since the close of the Civil War 
The draft for $250 came as a timely and benutiful gif: 
into the hands of kindred who had m(!t witli great and 
sudden losses. 

Geneva, September 6, 1865. 
To his Brother: 

You will find the amount small, but a little in these times will 

Yates The Missionary. 155 

perhaps give my aged parents a few comforts, or at least as- 
sure them of my will to help them. 

Your last, with one from my father, gave me unspeakable 
pleasure. How thankful I am that all my brothers and 
brothers-in-law are spared. Truly, God has been merciful to 
us all. 

We are returning to Shanghai, not knowing what is to befall 
us there, as the Board will not be able for some time to send 
us funds, and my own income is reduced to a good living. I 
shall try to be thankful for that. 

I long since committed myself and my family to the Lord. 
I hope that I shall be able to trust him in all things. We shall 
be happy, if our health is continued to us. We have, however, 
been too long in China to expect this for a much longer period. 



AGE 46-50. 

EINVIGORATED by -est and travel, Mr. and 
Mrs. Yates, with their daughter, now a cultured 
young woman, left Switzerland in tne autumn 
of 1865 for their home in China. In the earlier 
\ ears of their missionary life, "home" always meant 
America. From this time to the end, when Mr. Yates 
refers to "home," he means China. 

Steamship Imperatrice, October 11, 1865. 

Within less than forty-eight hours we shall be at Galle, on the 
south end of Ceylon. 

We sailed from Marseilles on the nineteenth of September, 
with about a hundred other passengers, men and women of 
all nations and tongues. We were blessed with a perfectly 
smooth sea to Messina, in Sicily. Etna, as we passed, was send- 
ing forth a perpetual stream of white smoke. From Messina 
to Alexandria we experienced a fresh breeze, and our ship, 

156 Yates The Missionary. 

the Moeris, rolled badly. Many were very seasick. Mrs. Yates, 
for the first time, was not. I am never seasick. 

From Alexandria we were hurried through, by train, to 
Cairo, where we passed a night at a miserable hotel. The next 
day we crossed the desert to Suez, where we took this steamer. 

I am sure that I can never forget the extreme heat of the 
several days we passed between Suez and Aden. It was some- 
thing awful. It was like walking along a broad street with the 
houses on fire on both sides. The thermometer showed 135 de- 
grees. The extreme heat from the sand hills on either shore 
did not allow the air to cool at night. Many strong men and 
women fainted. There were no deaths, though one man came 
near it. A single death would have caused many. 

October 12. — At Ceylon, all well and in fine spirits. 

Shanghai, March, 1866. 

To his Parents: 

My property here is not worth much now. I hope that it may 

be better by and by. 

How I should like to see and talk with those veterans, 

and [his nephews]. I hope that they will be able to 

educate their children. Education will be much more needed 
now than if there had been no war. The education of their 
children, till it is completed, should be the great business of 
their lives. 

I am still alone at Shanghai. I continue to preach and pray, 
but cannot say that I see much to encourage me in my work. 
But what we are commanded to do is to preach the word. With 
the blessing of health, I hope to continue in this good work 
a little longer. 

Since I returned from Europe, I have had no secular business. 
But I do not attempt to preach now as often as I used to do, 
from five to eight times a week. I find it advisable to husband 
my strength. 

It is not likely that the foregoing letter, ihoiigh ad- 
dressed to Mr. Yates' parents, was read by moie than one 
of them. His father had probably passed away before 
it reached America. His mother died a few months later. 
As the years of the Civil War had wrought havoc among 

Yates The Missionary. 157 

the young and vigorous, so the years immediately suc- 
ceeding its close, with their changed order of things 
were, as was often remarked at the time, exceptionalH 
fatal to those who had passed the meridian of nfe. 

Shanghai, Novembei 26, 1867. 
To his Sister: 

Both of our dear parents are now at rest in heaven, where 
they will forever be free from anxiety and trouble. We should 
try to feel thankful that they were spared to us so long. And 
now that there is so much trouble in America, we should not 
grieve that they have been taken to their rest. Our summons 
will come in due time. 

I have baptized five Chinese within a month. I am alone, 
having had no colleague since Mr. Crawford went North. My 
field is a large one. It has more souls in it than you have in 
the United States. There are more than forty million people 
to whom I could preach if I had mouths enough. I am tired 
of constant labor. I preach in the day, and work every even- 
ing for a support. The Board cannot furnish us, these hard 
times, with money enough for our support. But I am willing 
to spend and be spent in the service of the Lord. 

Give all your children a good education, if it takes all you 
make each year. I made some money in 1863 and spent it 
on the education of our child. I do not regret it. 

Shanghai, January 16, 1868. 

Missionaries may now travel and preach with impunity. They 
may also preach at interior cities without fear of serious op- 
position. Making a virtue of necessity, the Chinese have dis- 
covered that our religion teaches morality, and therefore is 
good. With the men and means, we could preach the gospel 
to a hundred millions this year. 

I do not wish the churches to make sacrifices for me. If 
they do it for Christ and for missions, it is well. 

During the dark days after the close of the Civil War, 
]\Ir. Yates published an address to his brethren in the 
Southern ministry. From it a few extracts are taken: 

Now that the afflicting hand of God is upon our land, does 
it not become his ambassadors to enquire how we have executed 

158 Yates The Missionary. 

Christ's command, "Teaching them to observe all things, what- 
soever I have commanded you?" Our obligations are but half 
discharged when we preach justification through faith. 

Allow me to enquire if a grievous evil has not crept into our 
ministry and our churches. I mean popular preaching, to the 
exclusion of teaching the churches. Have they not greatly low- 
ered the standard of church membership? 

Is not the practice of writing adulatory notices of young men 
just entering the ministry very demoralizing? Is it not well 
calculated to increase the number of men who seek to become 
popular preachers rather than faithful pastors? 

Has not this retrograde movement come to this, that many 
pastors dare not proclaim the whole counsel of God to their 
people? They are constantly adding fresh recruits to the host, 
but they do not lead them on to victory against the powers 

of darkness. 

Shanghai, May 24, 1868. 
To his Sister: 

You said nothing in your letter about the education of the 

boys. I was truly glad to hear that and [his 

nephews] had joined the church. I hope that they will become 
working members in their Master's service. He vvho labors 
for Christ will enjoy more of Christ's presence than he who 
hides his talent. 

If the war deranged your plans for their education, let them 
read and study every night at home for at least an hour. Tell 
them never to pass by a single word or passage that they do 
not understand. Let them keep a dictionary and map by them. 
Let every important fact or idea be fixed in their minds before 
they pass on to something new. Boys are very apt to skim over 
a book without knowing anything about it when they have 
read it through. One book well read is worth a dozen hastily 
passed over. Your boys can form no idea what an improve- 
ment a few years of close attention would make in them. But 
excuse this long essay on education. 

Living is very expensive here now. I have thus far managed 
to make a living by working, sometimes late at night. What 
I can earn from time to time, added to what I receive from the 
Board, has kept us from suffering. 

Yates The Missionary. 159 

I am doing what I can in our mission work. The people 
come to hear me preach, but will not turn from their sins and 
idols. Many of them become more or less interested, but it 
is too often like the morning dew. As I am now prepared for 
this work, I suppose that it is my duty to continue in it. The 
field is the world, and this is, by far the largest field on the 
face of the globe. China does not look large on the map — but 
the people — there are four hundred millions here, and all going 
the downward road. It seems to be the will of the Lord that 
I should wear out here. 

Shanghai, July 13, 1868. 

After service yesterday I opened the door for the reception 
of candidates for baptism. One woman who lived in my family 
seventeen years ago came forward and was received. This is 
receiving bread cast upon the waters many years ago. 

Shanghai, October 13, 1868. 
During the past summer we have been kept from serious 
illness. I have been able to keep up my regular preaching 
services during the whole summer. Many Chinese manifest a 
deep interest in the gospel, and say that they believe in Christ. 
Few, however, have the fortitude to put on Christ. 

Shanghai, December, i! 

Our religion is attracting the attention of the literati and 
officials. The power of the gospel of Christ is making itself 
felt in China. The thinking classes are not slow to see that it 
aims at an entire subversion of their ancient systems. Op- 
position will not injure our cause. It will only attract atten- 
tion to the new religion, as, in days gone by, it has done in 
the West. 

Shanghai, December 31, 1868. 

My church is growing in knowledge, and in some cases 
greatly in efficiency. My idea of a properly trained church 
is that every member should feel that he or she has a work to 
do for the conversion of others. 

Never have I felt more certain of the ultimate triumph of 
the gospel in China. 

i6o Yates The Missionary. 

Mr. Yates' views as to "a properly trained church" 
were much more fully expressed several years later in 
the great Missionary Conference: 

To secure an aggressive native church, there are some things 
v,'hich I regard as fundamental. 

1. A converted and evangelical membership. To admit an> 
other element into our churches, even though they may be 
persons of weaUh or influence as scholars, is to paralyze the 
whole church. For the persons of wealth and influence will 
give the moral tone to the church. 

2. They should be taught that, when they embrace Christian- 
ity, they become the disciples of Jesus Christ, and not the dis- 
ciples of the missionary. 

3. As they have become the disciples of Jesus, they should 
become thoroughly acquainted with his teachings in the lan- 
guage in which they think and speak. They should be en- 
couraged to commit to memory precious and practical portions 
of the New Testament in the spoken language of their par- 
ticular locality. 

4. They should be taught the individuality of their religion, 
that they are personally responsible to God; that they can and 
ought to exert a personal influence in behalf of the religion 
which they profess. 

We need to take hold and show them how it should be done; 
this will be easy to do, for the Chinese are good imitators, and 
example is a good teacher. And at first, if they need a little 
aid, we should render it, for nothing is so encouraging as 
success. We should strive to avoid the depressing influence 
of failure. And let it be ever borne in mind that we need not 
expect our native preachers to be aggressive unless we are ag- 
gressive ourselves. 

There is testimony from many quarters that in his own 
work Mr. Yates practiced the principles set forth above. 
He could have added large numbers to his church, and 
have sent home glowing reports. But he knew that in 
order to lay solidly "the foundations of a mii;hty super- 
structure," he might not use unhewn stone or untem- 

Yates The Missionary. i6i 

pered mortar. He could be patient that his work might 
be al)iding. 

Mr. Bryan has written from Shanghai: 

He was noted for his common sense and good judgment 
This is seen not only in the locations of his mission stations, 
but also in the characters of the native Christians whom he 
gathered into his churches. Some time ago I called on an 
Episcopal missionary physician and found him telling another 
physician that Dr. Yates did not gather in so many native 
Christians as some others, but that he gathered in better ones. 
Nearly every denomination in Shanghai has some of his 
members employed in important places. 

And Dr. Graves has written from Canton: 

As a missionary, he gave his main attention to the work for 
which he was best fitted, the oral proclamation of the Word. 
He was more careful as to the quality than the quantity of his 
converts, and some of them were men of marked character. 

Shan^^hai, February 7, 1869. 
The fields are whitening for the harvest. It is impossible for 
any one not in the work to imagine my feelings as I cast my 
eyes over this populous region wholly given to idolatry and 


An article sent to America by Mr. Yates at this time 
contains the following sentences: 

This huge, rotten, monstrous thing, China, cannot exist as 
it is. It is an outrage against nature, civilization, and the prin- 
ciples of right that are beginning, at last, to live in the world's 

Shanghai, April 19, 1869. 

The Board has not been able for the last sixteen months to 
send me more than half the amount required for our salaries 
and to keep up the Mission property. 

Shanghai, April 24, 1869. 
At my morning service every seat was occupied by very 
attentive hearers. While preaching, I saw tears flowing freely 

i62 Yates The Missionary. 

from the eyes of more than one. This is an unusual sight in a 
heathen congregation. 

May 7. — To-day I baptized two. Our present type of Chris- 
tians is much better than that of former years. 

May 17. — And still they come. Yesterday I baptized two 
more. Others are waiting for the opposition of friends to cease. 
Thus, while the churches at home seem to have utterly for- 
saken me and my work, the Lord is verifying his promise, "I 
am with you." 

It costs the Chinese, especially women, something to become 
Christians. I am delighted with the spirit of the late converts. 

After more than twenty-one years of labor, I have reached 
the Chinese heart. Oh, there is joy in my little church. 

My church, of believers only, is attracting more and more 
attention. There seems to be something in the simple act of 
immersion that impresses the Chinese favorably. It carries with 
it the idea of truthfulness and stability. 

Shanghai, May 9, 1869. 

I asked our native preacher, Wong, a few weeks ago how he 
would explain the apparent change of feeling in our congrega- 
tion. He replied: 'Y^our preaching goes to the heart now: 
formerly it only went in at one ear and out at the other. You 
preach much better than in former years." 

A few years later Dr. Yates expressed in the Mission- 
ary Conference his opinions as to the essential conditions 
tor successful preaching to the heathen. Some of these 
are as true for America as for China. 

Too much importance cannot be given to preaching as a 
means of converting the heathen. 

First of all, a missionary, to be successful preacher, must 
be well up in the use of the spoken language. He must be able 
to speak with fluency and be ready, without premeditation, to 
controvert any point that may be made. 

Again; it is necessary that he be well acquainted with the 
religious systems which he seeks to overturn. Ancestral wor- 
ship, especially, should be well understood. The physician 
should know, not only the disease, but the constitutions of his 

Yates The Missionary. i6 


patients. And ancestral worship is, so to speak, the constitu- 
tion or soul of the religious systems of China. 

Again; thorough preparation of our sermons is of the highest 
importance, if we expect them to be efifective. In my judgment, 
we should in each sermon strive to make one distinct impres- 
sion upon our hearers. A difTuse style of preaching, ranging 
from Genesis to Revelation, in one sermon, leaves no definite 

Again; let us avoid facetiousness and rudeness when we have 
occasion to animadvert upon their religious systems. We shall 
gain nothing by it; we may lose much. Our great work in 
preaching is to present the love of God in Christ Jesus as the 
only antidote for all the fears and woes of this people. 

It is likely that few men knew Mr. Yates more inti- 
mately than did his early college mate and lifelong 
friend, Rev. T. E. Skinner. Soon after Dr. Yates' death^ 
Dr. Skinner said: 

As a preacher, his subjects were generally practical and 
selected with an obvious aim to be useful. His deportment in 
the pulpit was grave, self-possessed, and devout, as became the 
man of God. His prayer, which was comprehensive, appropri- 
ate, and fervent, prepared him to deliver, and the people to 
hear, the message he had received from God. 

Dr. Yates could speak four languages, but his power as a 
preacher w-as in the Chinese tongue, which had, to some ex- 
tent, displaced his vernacular, the English. His acute ear en- 
abled him to pronounce with accuracy and distinctness the fre- 
quent gutturals of the Chinese language so as to disguise the 
fact that he was a foreigner. The strain of frequent preaching 
in Chinese at last so elongated the vocal chords that for a 
season he lost his voice and could speak only in a whisper. 

None but the Chinese can ever tell how he preached; but we 
who knew him can imagine how, as the sermon expanded in 
its delivery, the predominant qualities of the preacher became 
very marked; the clear, ringing voice, which never faltered for 
the fitting word, filled every part of the sanctuary; the ardor of 
the preacher rose higher and his action became more animated 
as the well worded sentences rolled forth; at last came the 

164 Yates The Missionary. 

climax, an overwhelming burst of oratory, flashing with the 
colors of a gorgeous imagination, in which the truth rushed like 
a flaming thunderbolt into the sinner's conscience, or fell with 
thrilling power upon the hearts of believers. 

In June, 1869. the degree of Doctor of Divinity was 
conferred on Mr. Yates by the trustees of his Alma Alater. 
1 his was no empty compliment, but a sure evidence of 
the esteem and honor in which he was held by his 
brethren in his native State. The fact that Wake Foresi 
had been so cautious and sparing in the bestowal of thi^ 
degree as to have given it to only six minister;^ in thirty - 
six years, adds emphasis to this statement. 


A DUMB PREACHER 1869-1875 — AGE 5O-56. 

ULL of encouragement and hope to the lone 
missionary had been the earlier months of 1869. 
With attentive and often tearful interest, large 

congregations listened to his message. Again 

and again were the doors of the church opened to re- 
ceive converts of a better type than had been known 1 

All this was over-stimulating to Dr. Yates. He 
sottght to reap the largest possible harvest in this re- 
vival season. But there was no colleagtie to assist or 
relieve him, and in the very flood tide of successftil mis- 
sionary w^ork his voice stiddenly failed. This was 
thought at first to be due to bronchial irritation; later 
on it became evident, as has already been intimated in 
the quotation froni Dr. Skinner, that his vocal chords 
had been overstrained by too constant use ot the trying 
guttural sounds of the Chinese .anguage. 

The following letters will tell iheir own story of how 
the eloc[ticnt man, doomed to silence, chafed at his long 

Yates The Missionary. 165 

inactivity, of his voyaoc around the globe and other 
lonely journeys anions;" strani^ers, and of his final re- 
covery of his voice, which failed him no more until his 


Steamship Kirshu, September 23, 1869. 

I am now returning from Manchuria. The voyage and six 
weeks of sweet rest in that bracing climate have had a most 
beneficial efi'ect upon my health. I am as strong and elastic 
in body and mind as I was twenty years ago. My bronchial 
affection is much better. A moderate amount of ordinary con- 
versation does not affect me; but prolonged conversation or 
half an hour of speaking brings on a distressing fit of coughing, 
and is followed by temporary loss of voice. 

I fear that I shall not be able to do anything like my usual 
amount of preaching this winter. 

Shanghai, October, 1869. 

I have entirely lost my voice, and for weeks have not spoken 
above a low whisper. This is a sore trial to me. The doctor 
says that I am suffering from a complete prostration of the 
vocal organs, the result of long overuse, and that I must ab- 
solutely abstain from speaking for at least one year. They say 
that what I need is not medicine, as I am in perfect health, but 

Now, with heavy heart, I am preparing for a winter in Man- 
churia, where the climate is dry and bracing. 

I am now aware that in trying to make up for the deficiency 
in the number of missionaries, I have taxed my voice beyond 
measure. I have been in the habit of using it about seven 
hours a day. But, as it has always been so full and clear, I 
little thought of a failure in that quarter. 

My family will remain at Shanghai and aid by their presence 
and efforts Rev. Wong Ping San, whom I have placed over 
the little flock. 

Before his conversion, Pastor Wong had been a school 
teacher. Having- good literary taste, and bemg, withal, 
something of a poet, he composed a number of hymns. 
Some of these are said to be among the best in the 
collection used by the Christians in Shanghai. When 

i66 Yates The Missionary. 

about to assume the undivided lesponsibility of servin.i; 
the church, he wrote as follows tj the Board: 

Shanghai, October 8, 1869. 

In the spring of 1856 I was baptized in the river by Pastor 
Yates. From that time my heart has been at rest. I have been 
able to view life and death with composure. In a'l times of 
trial and temptation the Holy Spirit has been my support and 

Within a year ten have been baptized; but, alas! just at the 
time when all hearts seemed to be moved under the power of 
the truth. Pastor Yates made efforts beyond his strength, his 
voice failed and he is now silent. The disciples are all sad and 

In 1866 I was raised to the high position of pastor. I am 
weak and of small ability; but there must be some one to guide 
the church, or the disciples would become disheartened. More- 
over, it becomes me to do all I can to accomplish the will of 

Shanghai, April 11, 1870. 
To his Sister: 

I have been from home, away up in Manchuria, for five 
months. Two weeks ago I reached home as well as a man 
could desire to be, and am as strong as a small horse. My only 
trouble is an injury to my vocal organs from too much speak- 
ing. Two doctors have examined me and say that there is not 
one man in a hundred as sound as I am, but that I must ab- 
stain ahogether from speaking. This I could not do at Shang- 
hai. So I went to the North, where I could rest, as the Chinese 
there do not know me. 

Now that I have returned home, the doctor says that I must 
go to the United States. I do not like the idea of leaving my 
family for so long a time. To take them with me is out of the 
question, for the expense would be too great. If I find that I 
can rest here, I shall not leave. If I go to the States, I shall 
not go South, where the people know me, until winter. But 
I shall find some quiet place among strangers and take a good 
rest. I have not preached for six months. The order is to go. 

Yates The Missionary. 167 

but T am not very obedient. What right has a doctor to tell 
me to leave my family for a year or more? 

I believe that I continue to grow. I am six feet two and a 
half inches in height. I am fifty-one years old, and my doctor 
says that I am good for thirty years more. 

My Mission now is out of debt, and I hope that there will 
be no trouble in the future. Never was I more encouraged 
in my work than I was when my voice failed me. The interest 
is still kept up under my native pastor, Wong. He baptized two 
while I was away, and there are two other applicants. 

It seems to me that the churches at home have almost for- 
gotten Foreign Missions. No one comes to my aid. There is 
something wrong. When people have much of the spirit of 
Christ, they have the spirit of missions. It is the duty of pastors 
to teach their people to observe all things whatsoever Christ 
commanded them. 

This letter is of peculiar interest, in that it gives Dr. 
Yates' own testimony to his belief that he continued to 
g-row in stature. The very remarkable fact that, after 
})assing the meridian of life, he was constantly growing 
taller, and that this growth continued for some years, 
is well attested by others. 

His lifelong friend. Dr. T. E. Skinner, says: 

Although twenty-eight years of age when he first sailed for 
China, he had growm one inch in height, as the mark on the 
posts of his father's door showed, when he returned to thi? 
country eleven years afterwards. Between this time and his 
last visit to the United States, by the same measure, he had 
grown two inches in height. This made him six feet two and 
a half inches, without his shoes. His normal weight in his 
later years was 244 pounds. As Fuller once said of Boyce, 
"The reason why God gave him such a big chest was because 
his big heart required it." 

Referring to the facts mentioned by Dr. Skmner, the 
editor of the Religious Herald wrote several years ago: 

We have known no other case of the kind. The growth was 
evidently healthy, for his body retained its proportions, and his 

i68 Yates The Missionary. 

intellectual was quite equal to his physical development. Was 
the change due to climate, or to some peculiarity of constitu- 

His mental growth can be accounted for by his temperate 
habits, care of bodily health, faith in God, and hard work, per- 
sistent study. His spiritual growth can be explained by his 
absolute obedience to the will of God, by his fidelity at the post 
of duty, and by his great love for the souls of men. 

Rev. R. T. Bryan, who during the closing years of 
Dr. Yates' life was his colleague in the Central China 
Mission, has recently said: 

He was in every sense of the word a big man. His mind, 
his heart, his soul all corresponded to his large and tall body. 
The work that he did, the fields of labor that he laid out, the 
large rooms and verandahs in the houses built by him, the size 
of the books published by him., the very large characters used 
in printing them (his Chinese Testament is twice as large as 
any other that I have seen), even the furniture in his study, 
his chair, his desk, his book cases — in fact, everything with 
which he had any connection, silently but distinctly Lells of the 
manifold largeness of the man. 

Dr. Yates himself wrote some years before his death : 

I have never been attacked. I have been told that my size 
and apparent strength have inspired roughs with a wholesome 
dread of any defence that I might be called upon to make. 

Those who saw him during his visit to America in 
1870 can readily understand that a successtul attack 
would have been no easy matter. He was then the em- 
bodiment of musctilar Christianity. In admiration of 
his perfect proportions, one lost sight of his unusual 
height. He was as erect as an Indian and moved with 
the elasticity and grace of an athlete. And, withal, he 
was as gentle as a woman. 

Though almost a dumb preacher at that time, he oc- 
casionally made public addresses. His manner was ab- 
Folutely free from affectation. The glow of intense 

Yates The Misc->ionary. 169 

earnestness burned throui2:h every utterance. In con 
vcrsation he was genial; the ice of forniahty thawed in 
his presence. It was good to see his dark eyes gleam 
and sparkle in his ready appreciation of a touch of humor. 
A royal man this was, my brothers. Because he lived 
close to God, he was not, therefore, out of touch with 
men. Xo effeminate odor of sanctity drove his fellows 
from his presence. His religion was of the virile type, 
and his vigorous manhood was permeated with his re- 
ligion. To be with him was worth a whole course of 
Christian evidences. 

Such were the impressions received by a young college 
professor when Yates visited Wake Forest twenty-seven 

\ears ago. 

Shanghai, April, 1870. 

It is my privilege to write you once more from my own 

home. For forty days before leaving for Manchuria, I wa-^ 

unable to make an audible sound. While there, I had little 

communication with the outside world. After three weeks, 

my voice began to improve, and I became able to converse, to 

a limited extent, in my natural voice. But after repeated trials, 

I find that it will not bear a steady strain. Speaking for a few 

minutes will cause it to break to a whisper. 

After another month of patient waiting, it became 
evident that Dr. Yates could not regain his voice in 
Shanghai, where, in spite of all efforts and protests, he 
was compelled to use it. In May, therefore, he sailed fo: 
the United States. A Shanghai paper described the 
parting between the native church and the missionary 
as "a most affecting scene." 

San Francisco, June 15, 1870. 

I arrived here yesterday. My physician insisted on the trip 
as my only hope of regaining my vocal powers. After a month 
of mature deliberation and prayer, the course advised seemed 
to be duty. 

It was hard to leave my family. And, need I tell you, it 
was hard to leave our mission work, now so promising. The 
Sahbath before I left, though unable to speak above a whisper, 

170 Yates The Missionary. 

I baptized three. On the Sabbath before I baptized seven. 
The chapel cannot hold my congregation. And this is not a 
crowd of people who tarn in through idle curiosity, but they are 
men and women who come expressly to hear the word of God, 
and they listen to the gospel message with more than ordinary 

Syracuse, N. Y., August i, 1870. 
To his Brother: 

You will be glad to hear that my two months rest and my 
trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California, have very 
much improved my voice; indeed it seems almost natural. But 
I am sorry to say that it will not stand much of a strain in 
the way of public speaking. So I am playing lazy now. 

Thank you for your kind invitation to make your house my 
home. I shall not stay long at any place. My home is in China. 

Robert Samuel Prichard, of Wilmington, N. C, grad- 
uated at Wake Forest College in 1869 with the highest 
honors of a brilliant class. More and more during his 
college career had his thoughts been turned :o the hea- 
then world as the field for his life work. Durhig his sub- 
sequent student life at the University of Virgmia lie was 
able to burn all the bridges behind him and to declare his 
purpose to become a missionary. The only question with 
him was where the Lord would have him labor. In 
reply to Mr, Prichard's letter of inquiry Dr. Yates wrote 
as follows: 

Poughkeepsie, N. Y., September i, 1870. 

To Robert S. Prichard: 

As you may readily suppose, the subject of your letter is 
one in which I am much interested. You are considering the 
all important subject of a personal consecration to the great 
work of missions among the heathen, and you "wish to know 
the dif^culties and count the cost." 

The one great difficulty with a young man called ot 
God to preach the gospel, especially if he has talents and am- 
bition, is the difficulty of attaining a state of perfect abnegation 
of self, or, in other words, a state of perfect resignation to the 
will of God. This involves the crucifying of all ambitious feel- 

Yates The Missionary. 171 

ings, the turning of the back upon all posts of honor, ease, 
and affluence, and the marching, if he believes Christ com- 
mands it, into the darkness of heathenism, there to labor and 
die for the glory of God, leaving his name and honors entirely 
in the hands of him whom he has served. 

This is the one difficulty that confronts you now. 

This overcome, all other difficulties will vanish as soon as 
they are approached. The language is a great trial, but it can 
be mastered by any one having an ear capable of distinguish- 
ing and imitating the musical sounds. The question of climate 
need give no difficulty, for there is every variety of climate in 
China that is to be found in America. 

It takes no more faith to be a missionary than it does to be 
a faithful minister at home. You will not have, it is true, the 
moral support of sympathizing Christian friends, as you would 
in the States, and this is a sore trial to a lone missionary. 

The life of a missionary is one of incessant labor and care. 
He must work at the language certain hours, preach at certain 
hours every day, and twice as many on Sundays. 

The case of Judson, to which you referred, is the exception 
and not the rule as regards the sufferings of a missionary. 
There are trials, but God gives his servants grace to bear them. 
I have heard and read much about the peculiar trials and sac- 
rifices of a missionary, but I have never experienced them or 
known, personally, others to do so. 

The qualifications of heart, mind, and body deemed necessary 
for a good minister at home are just the qualifications required 
for a good missionary to the heathen. I know of nothing 
"peculiar" to suggest. 

Let me urge you, therefore, to strive to overcome "the first 
great difficulty" to which I have referred. Success in this is 
as essential to the usefulness of a minister at homie as for a 
missionary abroad. Dismiss, as far as possible, the associations 
which may have had some influence upon your feelings, ask 
the Lord, with a full determination to follow the directions 
of the Spirit, where he will have you to labor, and then be 
honest with yourself, following the guiding of the Spirit, without 
regard to the wishes and expectations of your friends. 

172 Yates The Missionary. 

I am not prepared to advise you with reference to another 
year at the University. It v^rould seem unnecessary. A knowl- 
edge of medicine might be useful at some stations where there 
are no physicians. But I am inclined to think, from my own 
observation, that men who take a partial course in medicine 
rarely ever practice enough to give them confidence in them- 
selves or to secure the confidence of others. I do not think 
that mixed professions work well. A year or two at the Green- 
ville Seminary would, doubtless, be very serviceable and de- 

May the Lord of the harvest guide you aright and direct 
you into that field where you will in the highest degree pro- 
mote his glory. 

Mr. I'richard had already solved "the first great dif- 
ticiilty. ' having consecrated himself without reserve to 
the service of God. With gladness and hope he offered 
himself to the Board. He was L^ccepted and designated 
to the Shanghai mission. Btit God saw best to call him 
from labor into rest. In January, 1872, this lovely and 
gifted young man died in Richmond, Va. 

Washington, D. C, December 5, 1870. 
To his Sister: 

I am about worn out. I took the cars the day I left you, 
went to Columbia and Greenville, S. C., and then to Augusta, 
Atlanta, and Columbus, Ga. Thence back via Greensboro and 
Danville to Richmond, and now here I am to have a talk with 
the President, if he has time to talk about Chinese matters. 
Then I'm ofl for New York and San Francisco. 

It was din'ing this trip that he made the \isit to Dr. 
Skinner in Columbus, Ga., which was referred to in a 
previous chapter. A.fter he left, Dr. Skinner wrote: 

His last words, as I walked along by the moving car, clasping 
his hand, unwilling to let go, unable to hold on, were: ''Remem- 
ber, my brother, I am in the advance, you in the rear." 

These parting words recall expressions tised by Dr. 
R. J. Willingham in an article upon Dr. Yates in the 
Seminary Magazine. 

Yates The Missionary. 173 

More than forty years, steady, reliable, earnest, strong, prayer- 
ful, at the front he stood. For a while, voice was gone, for a 
time paralyzed, through war, through pestilence, through trials, 
in life, in death, at the front. 

San Francisco, December 30, 1870. 

We sail to-morrow at noon. By the time this reaches your 

postoffice, we shall be two thousand miles at sea. My visit 

seems like a dream. 

Shanghai, February 10, 1871. 
To his Sister: 

Here I am at home with my own dear darlings. I arrived 
on Sunday, February 5th, the very day that I told you I ex- 
pected to arrive. Lizzie and Annie and Mr. Seaman were all 
well and glad to see me. They knew that the steamer might 
come about noon and drove down to see. I saw the carriage 
coming before I got on shore. Oh, I am so glad to be at home 
where I can rest. Though my voice will not enable me to 
preach, I can talk quietly. 

I am much gratified to find that the members of my church 
are steadfast. The real martyr spirit is in this infant church. 
My chapel is crowded. 

Shanghai, May, 1871. 

The whole church seems to be thoroughly aroused. Many 
of them seem to feel that my affliction is a loud call to them to 
engage personally in teaching the people the way of salvation. 
The movement is remarkable. 

I am now convinced that I must give up public speaking. 
The entire loss of my voice, when I last preached, was attended 
with a paralysis of my right hand. My doctor in New York 
warned me against straining my voice, lest I should have total 
paralysis of the vocal chords. The symptoms in my hand 
were, I suppose, sympathetic. They disappeared afterward. I 
resolved then not to attempt public preaching again soon, if 
ever. But I find that I can speak in conversational tones with- 
out any apparent injury to my voice. 

Every Sunday morning, at the close of Wong's service, I 
take my seat in front of the congregation and explain the gos- 
pels, verse by verse. I began with Matthew. The whole church 

174 Yates The Missionary. 

seem delighted with the plan. I trust in this way to accom- 
plish as much as by pulpit exercises. 

Shanghai, October, 1871. 

All my intercourse with men is in a whisper, and is attended 
with fatigue. It requires as much effort to speak in a whisper 
now as it did to speak aloud to a large audience. The mus- 
cular power of the vocal chords seems to have been completely 
exhausted by protracted and vigorous use of the Chinese lan- 
guage. The doctor encourages me to hope that, as I am in 
the bloom of health, I may recover it by rest, so that it will 
serve me for twenty years for moderate use. 

Great as the trial is, I must leave again my family and the 
work I love so well. The latter will be in the hands of Pastor 
Wong under Mrs. Yates' superintendence and the guidance of 
the Spirit of Truth. May God, in answer to prayer, greatly 
prosper and bless this church. 

There are two candidates for baptism; but their friends op- 
pose. The outstation at Kwinsan is prospering well. 

Shanghai, November, 1871. 

I cannot remain in Shanghai without talking to the people, 
and I cannot speak to heathen of salvation without throwing 
my whole soul into my address. 

As I cannot work in my present condition, and as there is 
a prospect of being fitted for work by rest, I think that I shall 
go to Europe, where living is cheap, and where I shall have 
few temptation to use my voice. If I do go, it will be at my 
own expense. I have a little property here which I can sell 
This, with what I have earned by translating for the United 
States Consulate General, will keep me for a year or so. Mrs. 
Yates and Mr. Wong will carry on the work in my absence. 

Shanghai, December 9, 1871. 
To his Sister: 

I am delighted to hear the good news in regard to your 

children. All members of the church! I can rejoice with you 

both. May they all be bright and shining lights in the world. 

To this end they must pray much and read the Bible and other 

good books. If they cannot go to school all the time, they must 

study at home, and learn something every day. They must 

Yates The Missionary. 175 

learn to spell correctl}', learn to write well, learn to calculate, 
and learn by heart passages in the Bible. By learning a little 
every day, they will know a great deal by the time they are 
forty. I am a little over fifty, and I keep trying to learn some- 
thing all the time. And there is yet much to be learned. Every 
time they see anything that will be useful through life, they 
should never stop till they make it their own. In this way they 
will be wise before they know it, and they will find the habit 
of great use through life. 

You will be sorry to hear that my voice is gone again. My 
trunks are packed to leave home again in a few days for 
Europe, where no one will have any claim upon me, to rest my 
voice for a year or two. I have not spoken since the twentieth 
of September, except in a whisper. I shall go through Egypt, 
where Moses crossed the Red Sea and wandered in the desert. 
Then to Italy and see Rome. Then to Switzerland, France. 
Germany, and I know not where. I shall wander alone like a 
lone bird, while Mrs. Yates runs the Mission and looks after 
'things here. I shall be gone a year, more or less. vSad separa- 
tions, but I can render no service in my present condition. 
The doctor thinks I will get my voice, enough for moderate 
us.e, if I will go away for two years. With this hope, I am go- 
ing out on the wide ocean, not knowing what will befall me. 
I will write you again when I get to Europe and find a resting 
place. I am perfectly v/ell, and weigh 223 pounds, but my voice 
is broken by overuse. And in China I can't help using it. In 
Europe, where I do not know the languages, I suppose I can 
rest it. 

Shanghai, January, 1872. 

Yesterday I baptized two. One is a convert from heathen- 
ism; the other, a member of the German Consulate, has long 
been dissatisfied with his baptism in infancy. He came to me 
and expressed a wish to obey Christ by being baptized accord- 
ing to the scriptural mode. Several other Chinese are expected 
to come forward soon. Present membership is fifty-two. 

Pastor Wong improves in preaching all the time. His growth 
in knowledge and grace is really wonderful. 

i;'6 Yates The Missionary. 

I have not spoken above a whisper since September 20th. 
About the middle of this month I shall leave for Europe. 

The work at Shanghai appears to be progressing slowly, but 
steadily. Our congregations are large and orderly. Each 
year shows a perceptible growth in the piety and discipline of 
the members. They are trying to make the church self-sup- 
porting this year. 

We have before us a long and trying struggle with the powers 
01 darkness. The officials and literary class are averse to the 
spread of the gospel. They are convinced that its tendency 
is to subvert all their long cherished systems. But the truth 
will prevail. Many already see it and acquiesce in it. The 
number of such will increase. I bless God for what I have been 
permitted to see. 

In accordance with the purpose indicated in the pre- 
ceding letters, Dr. Yates left Shanghai for Europe about 

the middle of January. 

Shanghai, February, 1872. 
From Mrs. Yates: 

It is nearly a month since Mr. Yates started on his wander- 
ings, feeling sadder than I have ever known him to feel before, 
yet resolute to carry out the physician's advice. His plan is 
to go up the Nile, then to Rome, and afterwards to London, 
to consult Dr. McKenzie about his throat. Perhaps it may 
result in the recovery of his voice. Other good may grow out 
of his great trouble. We can only wait and trust. 

It will be my endeavor to keep up the interest and the order 
as steadily as if Mr. Yates were here. With the sound doctrine 
of the pastor and the zealous co-operation of the deacons and 
our lay preacher, Wong-yih-san, this is not too much to hope 

During most of the long voyage through ihe Indian 
Ocean and the Suez Canal, Dr. Yates did not speak 
above a whisper. "But," Mr. M. Lankford, his college 
chum, says, "while the steamer was lying at jiddah, the 
seaport of Mecca, and w^hile, one day, Yates was on his 
knees, praying, his voice was restored." 

Yates The Missionary. 177 

On arriving at Naples, he could write (February 17, 

It is with pleasure and thanksgiving that I report the resto- 
ration of my voice. After whispering for months, I can now 
speak in my natural tone of voice. 

Paris, September 29, 1872. 
To his Sister: 

Your letter of April 5th was forwarded to me from China, 
and received a short time ago. 1 was glad to hear once more 
that you were all well. I am here in the finest city in the world, 
eleven thousand miles from home and dear ones in China, and 
three thousand miles from you in America. Since I landed in 
Suez, on the Red Sea, where Moses crossed with the Israel- 
ites, I have traveled through Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, Bel- 
gium, and France, where I now am. And, oh! I am so tired of 
this sort of Hfe. I am among strangers all the time, and noth- 
ing to do. I am not happy unless I am doing something or 
trying to do something to make others happy. My voice seems 
all right again, and I am well and handsome as a picture. I 
may spend the winter here, or I may take it into my head to go 
home. There is no telling what a man will do when he is 
desperate. I would go to the States if I could be allowed to rest 
there, but that would be impossible. Every preacher would 
want me to say just a little to his people. So I suppose it will 
be best for me to stop among strangers, even if I should go to 
the States. But is it not hard that a man has to shun his 

Meantime his faithful compan-on, "keepinp; up the in 
terest and order" in Shanghai, wrote as follows: 

Shanghai, October 26, 1872. 
We have been moving on this year in an uneventful way. 
There is scarcely any perceptible change. Wong preaches well 
and regularly. And the members of his flock attend regularly. 
Six have been baptized. These are from our station at Quinsan, 
two days journey from here. 

J7S Yates The Missionary. 

The specialist consulted by Dr. Yates in Paris nisisteJ 
'ihat he should not attempt to use his voice in public 
speaking for several months. The remainder of the year 
1872 was, therefore, spent in Europe. In January, 1873, 
he arrived in the United States. As his voice demanded 
that he should be saved from his friends, he could not 
\enture further South than Riclmiond. 

In April he left San Francisco for Shanghai, and com- 
pleted for the second time a circuit around the globe. 
And while making the voyage he wrote as follows: 

Nongasaki, Japan, May i, 1873. 
To Mrs. Archibald Thomas, Richmond, Va. : 

Here I am within two days of home. After mature delibera- 
tion as to what I should do — go to Europe aione, remain in 
the States, or go home — I decided to seek the quiet of mind and 
rest which nothing but my own home could give. And, having 
come to this decision, I did not ask advice from any one. 

My trip of seven days and nights by rail to San Francisco 
was delightful. We had neither snow, ice, nor rain. Two days 
after I pa^ssed, there was a heavy snow storm. What a fortu- 
nate man I am! 

I sailed from San Francisco on the Alaska, April ist, and 
arrived at Yokohama April 27th, after a most delightful voyage. 
It was simply a pleasure excursion; the sea was so smooth that 
we could hardly feel the motion of the boat. At Kobe I tel- 
egraphed to Mrs. Yates. She had, up to that time, no correct 
knowledge of my whereabouts. She has doubtless been think- 
ing of me as being in or near France, as I had written her that 
I should probably return to Europe. 

A friend just from Shanghai told me that Mrs. Yates is well, 
and my daughter is expected there from her home in Hong 
Kong. Don't you know that we shall be a happy family? I 
hope so, at least for a while. I do not know that I shall be able 
to remain in Shanghai long. My voice is just as it was in 
Richmond. It will not stand a strain. It failed me after a short 
service on the steamer as well as after an earnest and prolonged 
conversation. If I cannot remain in Shanghai, I shall go to 
Europe again and settle down in some quiet place. But I know 

Yates The Mis^.ionary. 179 

not what I should do till I consult with Mrs. Yates. She is 

a jewel to stand so long by our mission interests here, and she 

deserves to be consulted. 

Shanghai, May 24, 1873. 

I had a most delightful voyage from San Francisco. I at- 
tempted a service on the S. S. Alaska, but my voice failed me. 
And now that I am at home, the temptation to use my voice 
causes me more anxiety than absence from home did. It seems 
impossible to remain in China and not talk more than I ought, 
even if I do not preach. But I am here now, and, if possible, 
I shall remain. 

]\Iy little church seems to be in a healthy condition. They 
seem to see the importance of maintaining the purity of the 
church by rigid discipline. Two were excluded and nine bap- 
tized during my absence. 

Shanghai, September 11, 1873. 

I have not attempted to preach since I returned. My few 
short talks to the church have evidently injured my voice. I 
should have remained away longer. 

While waiting on my voice, I am merely superintending the 
mission work and acting as a doorkeeper in the house of the 

The loss of my voice, which threw the responsibility of the 
work upon Pastor Wong, has been the means, in the providence 
of God, of making him a very good preacher, one of whom we 
are not ashamed. 

It was about this time that Dr. Yates placed in the 
hands of Dr. Wingate, President of Wake Forest Col- 
lege, a sum of money to be used in helping some young 
ministers to secure an education. Concerning this gift, 
and the outcome of it, Dr. Willingham has v/nttcn: 

While in North Carolina, his heart reached out to China. 
When in China, his heart reached out to America. A poor, 
struggling young man in North Carolina was told that a friend 
would help him go to college. For more than a year he worked 
at Wake Forest before he found out that his unknown bene- 
factor was Dr. Yates, who wanted to help some young preacher 
at home. More than three years was this aid given to this 

i8o Yates The Missionary. 

young man, and then to others. The young man referred to is 

to-day one of Richmond's leading pastors, strong, clear-headed, 

pious, an ardent lover of missions, a member of the Foreign 

Mission Board. 

Shanghai, October lo, 1873. 

My voice is gone. Tn order to save my life, it may be deemed 

necessary for me to leave China again. But, for the present, 

while unable to preach, I have accepted the position of United 

States Vice Consul General. As I need, must have, and v^ill 

have another chapel, I shall proceed to have it built at my ov^n 

expense, appropriating to it all my profits as Vice Consul, until 

the work is completed. 

Shanghai, February 23, 1874. 

I am sorry to have to report that m> voice is much worse. 

I fear that I shall not be able to remain here. The Lord reigns 

and will direct all things for his own glory. 

By the request of Dr. Yates, the Shanghai Baptist 
Church was represented in the Southern Baptist Con- 
vention which, in May, 1874, met in Texas. The church 
had contributed $800 to the objects of the Convention. 
Converted Seminole Indians, trom Indian Territory 
were selected to represent these Chinese Christians. 
Thus was presented an object lesson which suggested 
the essential unity of Home and Foreign Missions. 

Shanghai, September, 1874. 

In spite of the recent riot near us, we are all well and un- 
molested. The whole block of buildings just above us was 
burned. With the cries of thousands of enraged men, the 
roaring of the fire so near us, and the multitude of Chinese 
families seeking places of security, it was an awful scene. As 
I knew that the Chinese could have nothing against me, we 
remained quietly at home in the midst of ij all without harm 
or alarm. 

The condition of my voice remains unchanged, so far as I 

can tell. 

Shanghai, October, 1874. 

My new church will be completed in a month; also a nice 

parsonage on the same lot for Pastor Wong. 

Sung Way Dong, 1898. 
Church built hv Dr. Yates mainly at his own expense." 

Yates The Missionary. i8i 

I have been urged to accept the appointment of Secretary 
of Legation at Peking, but I have no ambition or mclination in 
that direction, and have so informed the Consul General. 

Shanghai, March i, 1875. 
To the Recorder: 

Some sixteen months ago I resolved to work out the amount 
necessary to build the church which was required for the best 
interests 01 my Mission. To accomplish this end, I accepted 
the positions of United States Vice Consul General and In- 
terpreter at the Consulate General. 

I have now nearly earned the requisite amount, and I am 
happy to say that the church is completed. It was opened for 
public worship on February 14th. It was filled to overflowing 
three times that day, and five new converts were baptized in 
the new baptistry. 

The building cost $3,320. Others contributed $828. The rest 
1 provided. As it was built mainly at my expense, I planned 
it after my own heart, and it is, in every respect, perfect. It 
is lighted with gas. Messrs. Russell & Co. have just presented 
me with a five hundred pound bell for it. 

A few days after the date of this letter, Miss Lottie 
Moon, of Tungchow, who had been present at the dedi- 
cation services, wrote: 

On the Sabbath of the Chinese New Year. Dr. Yates had the 
satisfaction of dedicating his new church. Such is his modesty 
that he will not write how nobly and successfully he has worked 
to build up a true Christian church. The new building is, per- 
haps, the most complete in all its appointments of any in 


Shanghai, December 29, 1875. 

To his Sister: 

You will be pleased to know that my voice seems to be all 
right again. And I am hard at work preaching and translat- 
ing the Scriptures. I have finished my new church, a photo- 
graph of which I will send you by the next mail. You will 
see me and my big black dog standing at the gate. It was ded- 
icated in February, and since that time I have baptized twenty 

iS2 Yates The Missionary. 

new converts. That is quite as much as some of your preachers 
have done in a Christian land. Here it is all sin. darkness, 
and idolatry. 

I wish you could see my new house full of Chinese, and hear 
me talk to them in this strange language. I know you would 
be pleased and amused, if not instructed. I worked out, and 
paid out of my own pocket a little less than three thousand 
dollars. So I may be excused for thinking much of it, for I 
drew the plan and superintended the work from first to last. 
And I "think it is a real nice church. 

You write of the long separation from my family. Well, 
that is the lot of missionaries. Whether we were born heroes 
or not, we learn by conflict with difficulties to become such. 

Is Mr. N getting old? Tell him that I am as straight 

as an Indian and as handsome as a beau. I don't intend to be 
old at eighty. 

At the close of this year Dr. Yates was able to say 
that his voice was entirely restored, and that, for several 
months, he had been able to preach regularly. This be- 
ing the case, and his chapel having been paid for, he 
resigned his position as Vice Consul General. This step 
was taken at the very time when he was offered the more 
responsible and profitable position of Consul General. 
He has given his reasons for it. 

I could not accept without giving up my- missionary work — 
my life work. No office, no gift of the government, could in- 
duce me to do that while I am able to preach and translate. 
1 resigned, therefore, the honors and the emolument. 

If he had left behind him no other words, these alone 
would be sufificient to reveal the stuff of which the man 
was made and the native hue of his resolution. 

Yates The Miss-ionary. 183 


I AM IN DEAD EARNEST 1876-1877 AGE 57-58. 

IKE an undertone in the minor key there runs 
through many of the letters in this chapter, 
and more and more until the end, a strain of 
_^_^_ sadness. There is — we can see and feel it now; 
alas that we could not then! — something almost heart- 
rending in the plaintive appeals made year after year 
by Dr. Yates for men to come and labor by his side. 
From the time that Dr. Crawford left Shanghai, in 1863, 
until the arrival of Messrs. Herring and Bryan in 1886— 
twenty-three years — Mr. and Mrs. Yates were practically 
alone. Mr. Walker, it is true, went to him in 1882, but 
his health soon failed, and he was compelled to leave. 

The writer of these paragraphs read a few of these 
'etters when, at the time of their reception, they were 
published in religious papers. And, as he read, he was 
:onscious of a desire that the plea of the solitary toiler 
down in the dark minf might be heeded. Other pleas, 
however, because they were nearer, seemed louder and 
n'iOre insistent. But, as he has read these letters con- 
secutivelv, these and manv others which he mav not 
publish, he has been made to see it all in a new light, 
and to feel it with a force that is almost overwhelming. 
Again and again he has been compelled by a swelling 
tide of emotion to stop in the midst of the preparation of 
this volume. For who could prepare a life of Yates in 
cold blood? The cry has arisen in his heart: ''Oh, Christ, 
forgive us that we let thy servant — and ours — struggle 
so many years alone and single i^anded against the over- 
whelming odds." 

For were there not in the Baptist churches of the 
South a hundred men who would have been glad to go 

i84 Yates The Missionary. 

and labor by his side if the duty had been laid upon thei^ 
hearts and the means had been provided? And weni 
there not in those days a hundred Baptists in the South 
who could each have given, though with sacrifice, per- 
haps, a thousand dollars? And a thousand who could 
have given their hundreds? And a hundred thousand 
who could have given a dollar each? 

The lone missionary saw it ail in clear vision. Short- 
sighted and blurred was our view of the duty and the op- 

It is not for us to say what might have been. Yet 
one cannot refrain from imagining what might have 
been accomplished, what churches might have been 
gathered, what forces might have been equipped and 
organized, what enginery of spiritual warfare might have 
been planted under the leadership of this wise and vigor- 
ous man. 

We cannot get back into the last generation and do 
what we then left undone. But it is not too late for u-:; 
lo learn not to leave undone our manifest duty in this 

Shanghai, February, 1876. 
To tha Recorder: 

From the dedication of my new church, in February. 1875, 
to the end of the year, twenty new members were added by 
baptism. To-morrow I shall baptize a man of some influence. 
a school teacher. Chang, the giant, has not yet come forward 
to connect himself with the church. I think that his trust is in 
the Saviour. 

These results may seem small to you. I consider them equal 
to a revival at home with a thousand converts. 

Shanghai, April, 1876. 

I have been able, for several months, to labor hard on a 
revision of Matthew's gospel, in the spoken language of the 
people of this plain, a dialect spoken by forty milHons. 

I have built for Mrs. Yates a school house, where, in addition 
to her day school, in which she is doing good service, she meets 
the women for Bible lessons. 

Yates The Missionary. 185 

The congregations at the new church have been large and 
quite regular three times each week. Rev. Wong Ping San 
has preached well. During the year we have added twenty to 
our number by experience and baptism. The present member- 
ship is seventy-two. See Seen Sang, stationed at Kwinsan, has 
constructed a tent, which he moves from one village to another 
He preaches to or teaches those who call on him at his taber- 

The prospect everywhere is good for a steady increase of the 
work abroad; but the apparent want of missionary spirit at 
home causes us the deepest solicitude for the future of our life 

Shall we take no part in giving Japan and the interior cities 
of this great Empire the gospel of Christ? 

Shanghai, July (?), 1876. 

A wave of superstition, sending terror into the hearts of all 
classes of Chinese, and causing the greatest consternation, has 
swept over several provinces. Its manifestation was various 
in several localities. In the region of Shanghai, the people 
professed to see a black cat. 

The police caught two men who were circulating the disturb- 
ing rumors about the black cat, and brought them for punish- 
ment to the mixed court where I sit with a Chinese magistrate 
twice a week. They were sentenced to wear the cangue, and 
the Inspector of Police said that he would have a black cat 
painted upon it to terrify others. I suggested that the cat should 
be painted with its head off, so that the people could see that 
it was powerless to do any more harm. 

Strange to say, it was a success. From that day the rumors 
ceased; and I was highly complimented for my sagacity in quiet- 
ing the minds of hundreds of thousands. Elsewhere, the people 
suffered beyond description, and did not dare to sleep at night, 
lest they should be crushed by demons. In some places, the 
native Christians, not being afTected by the rumors, were 
charged with being the cause of the demoniac activity, and were 
slain and their chapels destroyed. 

Shanghai was saved from all these calamities by the decapita- 
tion of an imaginary cat. 

1 86 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, December, 1876. 

I have tried to emulate the spirit of the many noble enter- 
prises at home this Centennial year, but 1 find it hard to be 
enthusiastic all alone. I have not endowed a college, but I have 
supported myself by being Interpreter for the United States, 
have built a church, and a school house costing five hundred 
dollars, and have organized a school for boys, which is endowed 
for my life or stay in Shanghai. 

I look upon the past year as one of great success. The church 
seems to grow stronger on the milk of the truth. Some are 
ready to go into the country on Sabbath afternoons and tell 
the people of the great salvation. Having committed to memory 
the sermon on the mount, they have much to talk about. 

We have three services each week at the Baptist church, a 
prayer meeting at the native pastor's house, at my house a 
theological class, and one service each at the church in the city 
and at the new chapel in the country. These have all been well 
attended, and I hope for large results. Our membership is 
eighty. I have baptized seven. 

Four thousand copies of my translation of Matthew have been 
published, and I have a hymn book of seventy h>mns going 
through the press. I have translated to the twentieth chapter 
of Acts. 

It seems useless to hope for reinforcements while the churches 
do not support the few now in the field. My only hope is that 
God will revive his people. 

Shanghai, January 16, 1877. 
To the N. C. Bap. State Convention: 

In view of the gross darkness in this great Empire, and of 
the fact that I am a child of the Convention, I feel that I have 
a right to express my surprise and disappointment at the neg- 
lect of Foreign Missions by the Convention. When I left in 
1846, the brethren said to me: "You go down into the well, 
and we will hold the rope." 

They kept their promise for a while. The Raleigh Associa- 
tion contributed for my work from $600 to $800 a year, for many 
years; but, shall I say it? after a while they let go the rope. 

Notwithstanding that this Mission has been treated as a "lost 

Yates The Missionary. 187 

cause," I have held the fort for many years. And the prospect 
was never more hopeful than it is to-day. 

Will not the pastors try to interest their people in preaching 
the gospel to every creature? Will they not read my letters 
to them? I feel like embracing with a most cordial shake of 
both hands, every brother in North Carolina. I want to talk 
to them; and I can only do it by writing. 

The following- letter, which was publi-lied in the 
Biblical Recorder, is one of the many by wlii -h Dr. 
Yates sought to impart information and stimulate in- 
jercst among his brethren at home. This vvill explain 
his appeal in the preceding letter as to the reading o^" 
liis letters. 

Shanghai, February 13, 1877. 

Shanghai is on the border of the Yang-tsz River plain, which 
is considered the garden spot of China, and is the seaport of a 
score of great inland cities. Among them is Soochow, whose 
splendor long since gave rise to the proverb: "Above, there is 
heaven; below, there is Soochow." 

More than four hundred years ago this vast plain was inter- 
sected by tidal canals, like the roads in a densely populated 
region at home. It is dotted wath cities, towns, villages, and 
hamlets. All the cities have walls twenty-five or thirty feet high 
and fifteen feet thick. 

The hamlets and villages are so close together that the trees 
about them and about their water ponds and graves give the 
plain, every available foot of which is under cultivation, the 
appearance of a well wooded country. 

There are in this plain and its cities ten idol temples to one 
church in our Christian land. These temples cost as much as 
or more than our churches do. The people contribute the 
money to build these temples and to build and gild the idols. 
A single idol, twelve or fifteen feet high, costs as much as many 
of our country churches. 

The smaller idols are carved out of blocks of camphor wood. 
The large, immovable idols are built of plaster and lacquer 
around a wooden skeleton. When it has been gilded, worship 

i88 Yates The Missionary. 

before the new god is inaugurated with pubHc ceremony and 
music, and multitudes prostrate themselves before it. 

Not only are the temples filled with idols, but every house in 
every city and hamlet has its household shrine. An accurate 
computation of all the idols and objects of worship would ap- 
proximate half the population of the Empire. And these mil- 
lions of gods constitute the powers that be, controlling the 
government and all domestic and business relations, through 

Paul saw at Athens a city wholly given to idolatry. Here the 
whole land is full of idols. 

Shanghai, April 19, 1877. 
To the Recorder: 

I see that Brother Harrell comments on the liberality of the 
Durham Church in contributing an average of $10.29 each in 
1876. That is doing well. If all churches would do as much, 
the Old Ship of Zion, instead of being becalmed and tossed 
by the ground swell of worldliness, would be speeding under 
full sail to its destined haven. 

As Brother Harrell thinks that such liberality, when known, 
will incite others to do more, I will state that the Shanghai 
Baptist Church contributed during the same year an average 
of $29.55 for each of its eighty members. 

Although the grace of liberality had been developed 
to a high degree among the native Christians, the larg'; 
average referred to above was mainly due to the gener- 
ous gifts of Dr. Yates himself. These gifts v/ere recog 
jiized bv the S. B. Convention when, at its mee'.ing ir; 
New Orleans, in May, 1877, it declared that, "The liber- 
ality of P)rother M. T. Yates in relinquishing his salary, 
r.nd in building a chapel and school house, ovight to 
itimulate the churches to corresponding libcrahtjv." 

The General Conference of the Protestant Mission- 
aiies in China met in Shanghai, May loth, 1S77, and re- 
mained in session fourteen da3'S. This was probably 
the most notable assemblege of missionaries wh 'h, up 
10 that time, had gathered together since the day 01 
Pentecost. There were nearly one hundred and fiftv 

Yates The Misl^ionary. 189 

members, the representatives of almost every mission 
station and of every evangelical denominanon in the 
Chinese Empire. 

In this Conference, Dr. Yates presented an elaborate 
and able monograph on "Ancestral Worshi;,).'' He also 
participated freely in the discussion of a number of other 

Before the conference adjourned. Dr. Yates and Re^. 
C. W. Mateer volunteered to assume the financial re- 
sponsibility of publishing the proceedings of the con 
ference. their proposition was gratefully accepted, and 
the result was a royal octavo volume of five hundred 
pages. The book was published under the personal 
supervision of Dr. Yates, who was made chairman of the- 
editorial committee. It is a storehouse of unique in- 
formation in regard to China, the Chinese, and rdssion 
methods of everv kind. 

Dr. Muirhead writes (February 19, 1897) from Shang- 


Dr. Yates' essay on Ancestral Worship has often been re- 
ferred to as an admirable compendium of the whole theme, 
giving a view of its various bearings on the condition of the 
people, the expenses connected with the practice, and tne diffi- 
culties entailed by it in the spread of Christianity. 

He also did useful work in the revisal and publicacion of the 
other papers contained in the report of the confei-ence. He 
told me that the publication involved him in heavy pecuniary 
loss, but that he undertook it for the good of the cause which 
was near his heart. 

Soon after this meeting, a Presbyterian missionary, 
who had been present, and who had returned to this 
country, said to Rev. T. H. Pritchard, at his home in 
Raleigh: "Dr. Yates is physicall}, mentally, and ^piritu- 
■sVy head and shoulders above any English speaking 
missionary in Asia." Dr. Pritchard used 10 relate ii^ 
connection with this testimony a conversation in which 
Dr. J. B. Jeter said that he regarded Dr. Yates as the 
aDlest missionary w^hom he had ever seen. V/hen asked 

ico Yates The Missionary. 


:f he had ever seen Judson, Dr. Jeter repHed: "Yes, I 
knew Judson, but Yates has more mind than Judson." 

Shanghai, May 19, 1877. 

The Missionary Conference is still in session, and is thrill- 
ingly interesting. The essays written in different parts of 
China and read here from day to day, as well as t!:e speeches 
made, are a unit on one point — that the native churches must 
become self-supporting as soon as possible, and that foreign 
money should be used only for aggressive work. 

The average contribution of my church, per head, is more 
than double that of any. other church yet reported. 

I offered a resolution for a committee, consisting of one from 
each Mission in China, to draft an appeal to the Mission Boards, 
colleges, churches, and religious papers of the world for more 
men and women for China. 

The foregoing letter refers to the policy -X throwing; 
native Christians on their own resources as soon as 
possible for the support of their native pastors and for 
meeting- all other church expenses. Throaghout his 
missionary career, Dr. Yates strongly em.pliasized th.^ 
importance of pursuing this course. When the ^ubject 
was under discussion in the Conference, he said: 

I have been a missionar}' long enough to perceive that self- 
support is necessary to the life and growth of '.he native 
churches, and I have for years been striving to bring my church 
up to that standard. And I am happy to say that l have suc- 
ceeded beyond my expectations. At one time my native church 
had an endowment of something over 300 taels (about $450), 
but they managed to lose it. I did not regret it very much, 
for a fund of this sort is not conducive to the growth of a 
benevolent spirit in the churches. 

I am satisfied that a free use of foreign money to supply every 
want of the church has a tendency to divert the minds of its 
members from the real object of our mission to a line of busi- 
ness. And, while it may curtail the apparent growth of some 
churches, I think that we cannot too soon take steps to let it 
be known that there is no business in becoming a Christian. 

Yates The Missionary. 191 

Shanghai, June 13, 1877. 
To the Recorder: 

The General Missionary Conference, which convened here 
May loth, and closed May 24th, was the most remarkable meet- 
ing ihat I have ever attended. Perfect harmony and the best 
religious feeling prevailed to the close. The forty essays read 
and the discussions which followed each, were of a high order, 
and covered a wide range of subjects. 

On the seventh day of the Conference, I presented resolution'^ 
that a committee be appointed to draft an appeal to the Chris- 
tian world for more men and women for China. It was hailed 
as a happy thought, and special prayer was offered for God's 
blessing upon the appeal. I have had four thousand copies of 
it printed at my own expense, for circulation by the different 
Mission Boards among all the centers of influence in their 
several connections. 

The Conference was an era in our lives. Never before was 
there such interest felt in missions to this land as is ielt to-day 
by the missionaries in China. Seeing so many, and learning to 
love each other, we have been made to feel that we are not 
alone in contending with the surging tide of heathenism. 

Shanghai, June 30, 1877. 
I enjoy my freedom from consular and mixed court work. I 
have received most flattering letters from the United States 
Minister and Consul General on the occasion of my resignation 
of the important post which I have occupied. 

Shanghai, July 25, 1877. 

Southern Baptists have now only four men in China. The 

reduction of our Missions to a one man power at each has a 

depressing effect upon that one man, upon the native church, 

and upon the people. 

Shanghai, August 2, 1877. 

Notwithstanding the apparently insurmountable difficulties 
in the way of progress, and the fewness of the laborers, inade- 
quately sustained, our real progress is very great, though, as 
visible to the churches at home, very small. This has, I fear, 
discouraged some whose faith in regard to the China Missions 
is not very long. 

192 Yates The Missionary. 

Courage, brother! It is necessary to dig deep and lay the 
foundation of God's building on the rock. 

Shanghai, August 28, 1877. 
Mrs. Yates to Dr. Tupper, Cor. Sec: 

Much is said about the hardships of missionary life — much 
that is true and much that is exaggerated, but it seems to me 
that the Secretary of our Board has even a harder task than the 
missionaries whose cause he pleads. I think that if I were in 
his place, I should give up. I should say: "If Christians are 
willing to help to send the gospel to the heathen, they will give 
without waiting to be begged." Besides, who values a gift 
that does not come from the heart? I could not beg, but have 
I not Bible authority for saying that none but free-will offer- 
ings are acceptable to the Lord? 

Shanghai, September 12, 1877. 

This is the thirtieth anniversary of our arrival at Shanghai. 
At first the way was in the dark; but every successive decade 
lias shown marked progress in our work. To-day the mission- 
ary influence in China is a mighty power. The leaven of divine 
truth has been deposited in this mass of error and corruption, 
and its irresistible power is beginning to be seen and felt far 
and wide. 

The Bible has been translated into the literary or dead lan- 
guage of the whole country, and also rendered into the spoken 
languages or dialects of many localities, a style in which the 
Chinese have not been in the habit of making books. 

Places of worship have been secured, where multitudes come 
at the sound of the church bell to hear the word of God. 
Churches of living witnesses have been established. Tens of 
thousands have been convinced of the truth of the gospel, who 
have not had the moral courage to make public confession of 
their faith in Christ. 

Thirty years ago, when the prospect was so dark, and the 
darkness seemed so impenetrable, I would have compromised 
for what I now behold as my life work. Now, my demand 
would be for nothing less than a complete surrender. 

I am in dead earnest about this matter; for I fully realize that 
God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and has 

Yates The Missionary. 193 

committed unto us the word of reconciliation, and that he has 
commanded us to make it known among all nations. 

I not only do not regret devoting my life to the mission work, 
but I rejoice that he has counted me worthy to be his ambas- 
sador to the greatest Empire on the globe. Now, my one desire 
is that he would give me wisdom to do his will and be a faithful 
steward. The Lord be praised for all his goodness and mercy 
to us in our hours of darkest affliction. 

Shanghai, October 2, 1877. 

The volume of "Records of the General Conference" is pro- 
gressing favorably and we hope to complete it by the end of the 
year. It will be a work of great value. When I come to my 
Essay on Ancestral Worship, I think that I shall have an edi- 
tion struck off for circulation at home. It might do much 


Shanghai, November 5, 1877. 

To the Durham Baptist Church: 

I do not know many of your faces; but I know that you are 
co-workers in obeying the Lord's command, "Go ye, therefore, 
and teach all nations." This is addressed to every Christian 
from the day it was uttered until now. It does not mean that 
you should all come to China or go to Africa. To you, it means 
begin at Durham. You have commenced to obey this command 
by taking steps to build a suitable church and by organizing 
Sunday schools. This is applying to religious matters and the 
command of Christ the same sort of common sense that men 
generally apply to their business affairs. This is just what we 
should do. 

The greatest happiness that it is possible for a man or a 
woman to enjoy in this life is found in obeying Christ. Will 
not each of you take the advice of one on the other side of the 
globe, and ask God in secret what he will have you to do? 
And then, when you feel it to be your duty to do anything, 
to pray in your families, to teach in the Sunday school, to talk 
about Christ to others, begin, and God will help you. 

Shanghai, November 24, 1877. 
My congregations continue large, and I am working hard 

194 Yates The Missionary. 

and am waiting for a blessing from on high. I am trying to 
teach our m.embers the first principles of our pure and holy 
religion, and thus fit them for more effective work among their 
own countrymen. 

I have not been well for three months, and have lost flesh. 
But I hope to get through the winter all right. Then, if I 
am not well, I may take my family to Europe for a change, 
and then return for a last long and strong pull. 


BETTER ORE IS STRUCK 1878-1879 AGE 59-60. 

EVERAL letters which will not be publishe-l 
here disclose the fact that Dr. Yates' health 
was in even more critical condition than would 
be inferred from the letters in the last chapter. 
For medical treatment and the rest of a sea voyage, he 
'eft Shanghai in December. This trip was entirely at 
his own expense. He arrived at San Francisco on 
January 17th, 1878, and there he was relieved by the 
treatment of a homeopathic physician. That a thorough 
cure had not been effected, however, will appear later 
on. He sailed for Shanghai on April ist, without hav- 
ing crossed the continent to visit his friends in the East. 

San Francisco, February 22, 1878. 
You ask, "Shall we not see you in the East?" I think not. 
"Nor at the Convention in May?" No, I think not. i. I cannot 
afiford to add to the expense of my trip. 2. I cannot afford to 
stay away any longer than is absolutely necessary. I should 
enjoy it, if I did not have a great work on my hands and no 
one to relieve me. I must work on till I wear out. 

San Francisco, April i, 1878. 
The ulcer from which I have suffered so much has passed 
away. It was the result of the splinter of a bone of a fowl, 
which had been swallowed. The trouble was of a dangerous 

Yates The Missionary. 195 

character. I am thankful that I can return at once to my 
family and work. The Lord be praised. 

Yokohama, April 23, 1878. 

We arrived safely to-day. I leave for Shanghai to-morrow. 

Since the 12th, we have had to encounter a succession of 

westerly gales of wind. They were severe enough to force the 

steamer to heave to for forty-eight hours. Last Saturday night 

no one on board could sleep for a moment. Our steamer, the 

largest in the world except the Great Eastern, was tossed by 

the waves in a frightful manner. My health has steadily im- 

pro\ ed during the voyage. 

Shanghai, May 24, 1878. 

I arrived at home May 2nd suffering from a serious relapse. 
I am now happy to say that by vigorous treatment, in accord- 
ance with advice, I am about well. 

I have resumed my labors, both in the pulpit and in the prep- 
aration of books, and hope to do moderate work. 

Shanghai, June 6, 1878. 
To Rev. T. H. Pritchard, D.D.: 

On the morning of May nth, I telegraphed to ^he Conven- 
tion in Nashville, Matt. 9: 36. The next day I received my 
reply, "Ezra lo: 4., Boyce." Taking into account the difference 
in time, this telegram reached Shanghai in thirty minutes after 
it was sent from Nashville. It had to be sent from New York. 
from London, from Bombay, from Calcutta, from Singapore, 
and from Hong Kong. The way was clear for that telegram. 
It brought speedy comfort to my heart and gave me courage 
to hold the fort a little longer. 

I hope my little electric shock did some good in the Con- 
vention. If the churches do not move vigorously and speedily, 
their missions in China will soon be among the things of the 
past. The last man at each station has been in the last ditch 
for years. We are powerless for aggressive work, while the 
field is white unto the harvest. All that we can do is to hold 
on and pray for laborers. 

But Jesus is faithful. "Lo, I am with you always." That 
promise upon which I embarked from Boston in 1847 is as 
buoyant to-day as it was then. 

196 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, June 8, 1878. 
To his Sister: 

Have I told you that I arrived at home May 2nd and found 
Lizzie well, and that three days before I arrived, my old trouble 
returned upon me? I am about well again. Mrs. Yates and 
I have both had colds. We seem to take cold easier than we 
used to do. I suppose our constitutions are giving way a 

Shanghai, July 2, 1878. 

Last Sabbath it was my privilege to baptize three. One of 
Mrs. Yates* school girls now plays the organ at our regular 
Sunday services. So you see we are advancing. I think that 
you would enjoy worship with my little church. You would 
at least be able to see that a large proportion of those present 
worship God as people do in America. 

Shanghai, July 20, 1878. 

I have just put to press an edition of 2,500 of my translation 
of "The Two Friends." I am now writing a tract to be en- 
titled, 'The Way of Salvation." 

We have the papers containing a condensed report of the 
Convention in Nashville. What a pity that there is not suf^- 
cient enterprise to have the proceedings and all the speeches 
reported verbatim and published in all the religious papers. 
The speeches, I am satisfied, would be read with much interest, 
and be productive of much good. The men of this world are 
wiser in ihtiv generation than the children of light. 

Kwinsan, September 30, 1878. 

I am much pleased with the appearance of things at our out 
station here. The disciples have all been present, and I have 
had a delightful communion season with them. 

I preached in the morning to a crowded house. The open 
court yard also was full of most attentive hearers. I secured 
my congregation by calling out as I walked from my boat up 
the crowded street: "There will be preaching now at the Sung- 
way-dong (Hall of the Sacred Assembly)." In the afternoon, 
I had a much larger audience. Of course many of these came 
to see "the big monkey." But they had not been there long 
before a deep seriousness pervaded the densely packed audience. 

Yates The Missionary. 197 

After I finished, See T'ay San, the assistant in charge here, 
delivered a mcst animated and pointed address. A large num- 
ber lingered for conversation. I was glad to see that there was 
so much wheat in that congregation, and talked till fatigue 
warned me that it was prudent to desist. 

Having returned to my boat, I was resting and meditating 
on the extent of the harvest and the fewness of the laborers, 
when a boy stepped in front of me and called out, "Foreign 
devil!" I cast my eyes on him and he bolted. I thought, "Well, 
my blessed Lord suffered a similar reproach, and it is enough 
for me to be as my Lord." 

Then a small crowd gathered on the shore and were gazing 
at and talking about me, my age, how many Chinamen I could 
handle, my business there, etc. I was amused and interested. 
Finally a fellow joined the crowd and said, "Oh, that is the 
teacher who preached twice to-day at the Sung-way-dong, and 
I tell you he can talk our language. What he preached is still 
in my ears and before my eyes. They say that he is a foreigner, 
but I don't believe it. His speech proves him to be a Chinaman 
in foreign dress." Finally, one of them said to me, "Preach for 
us here." Then, as I sat on my boat, I preached to them Jesus 
and the resurrection. 

After the crowd had dispersed, and it was quite dark, several 
ventured to come to me in my boat, where we sat and talked 
together till a late hour. I found that the assistant of an 
ofificial, whose boat was made fast near mine, had been a be- 
liever for four years. He was not ready to declare himself a 
Christian as, by doing so, he would lose the position by which 
he supported his family. This, I am satisfied, is the condition 
of thousands, for it costs a man something in China to declare 
himself a Christian. Some who have heard me, and whom I 
may never meet again, will, I doubt not, be saved at last, as 
by fire. 

Shanghai, November 14, 1878. 

One of my old members went to her reward two days ago. 
She died in the faith and gave strict injunctions against the 
use of any idolatrous ceremonies. She said, "I belong to Jesus 
Christ, and he does not want such useless things." 

198 Yates The Missionary 

Shanghai, December 2, 1878. 

A few days ago a young woman died under peculiar circum- 
stances. She had once been a regular attendant at my church, 
and had expressed a wish to be baptized, but, being betrothed 
into a family of unbelievers, she was not allowed even to come 
to church again. One of our good sisters, a relative, was 
present at her bedside and gives an account of her dying mo- 

After they thought she was gone, she suddenly came to. and 
with a startled expression of her eyes, and with much agita- 
tion, she exclaimed: '"The doctrine (gospel) is true! Ah-boo- 
lay! Ah-boo-hau-lay!" Ah-boo, the mother of the sister men- 
tioned above, had died in the triumphs of faith six or seven 
years ago. Hau-lay means "she was beautiful, happy, com- 
fortable." As her agitation continued, the bystanders asked the 
reason of it. She replied: "I was stopped by two men in whitf.. 
one taller than the other, who said that my credentials were 
not good." They asked if she wished to have the priest come 
and perform religious ceremony. She replied. No. The Chris- 
tian relative then asked if she would like to have Pastor Wong 
read and pray with her. "Yes," she replied, "ask him to com-i 
and help me with my credentials." 

Wong went and read and prayed with her in the midst of 
the raging heathen. He urged faith in Jesus, as the only cre- 
dential needed. "Do not fear Jesus, for he loves you and wiil 
let you pass if you put your trust in him." Soon after this, 
she seemed to pass away again. But when those present thought 
that all was over, she came to, expressing ecstatic delight at 
being permitted to go to Ah-boo. She said: "I have not been 
baptized, but my credentials are accepted. Ah-boo is beautiful — 
is in white — is playing an instrument — the glory of heaven — no 
tongue can tell." These were the last audible words, and she 
passed away, never to return. 

I make no comment on this remarkable incident. It has 
moved my whole church as well as all the relatives of the de- 
ceased. Even the heathen family into which she had married 
are anxious about their "credentials." and are praying to the 
true God. 

Yates The Missionary. i99 

Shanghai, December 3, 1878. 
To Rev. T. H. Pritchard: 

Mrs. Yates is in Hong Kong, visiting our daughter, and if I 
did not have so much to occupy my mind and body, I might 
be very lonely. But. in addition to my regular work, I have 
undertaken to teach a theological class and to translate the 
New Testament. I am now working on Romans. I don't know 
what Peter would have said if he had undertaken lo translate 
into a Chinese dialect Paul's "things which are hard to be 

The following- i)aragraphs are from a communication 
addressed to the Missionary Society of the Seminary at 

Louisville: . ,, , o 

Shanghai, March 14, i879- 

Happy are ye if ye duly appreciate the privilege of a theo- 
logical education. Make the most of it. I shall never cease to 
feel the need of it, for in my work I am often called upon to do 
the work of an evangelist, pastor, theological professor, and 
translator of the Scriptures into a strange and most difficult 
tongue. The Chinese language will not contain the nice shades 
of many of our religious ideas; it has no parts of speech, no 
number, person, or gender. But here, as elsewhere, there are 
no difficulties which will not yield to energy, perseverance, and 


Even the conservatism and exclusiveness of the hundreds of 
millions of this ancient Empire are yielding to the influence of 

light and truth. , . * 1 o«^ 

Shanghai, April 14, 1879. 

It was my privilege yesterday to baptize two more converts 

from heathenism. There are many others whose hearts have 

been touched by the Spirit of Truth, and who have been awed 

into a reverential mood. Thank God for the manifestation of 

his presence in our midst. "Thou shalt see greater inings than 


April 28.— Yesterday I baptized two yong men brought down 
from our station at Kwinsan by See T'ay San. He will stop 
a month or more with me, that I may teach him the way of the 
Lord more perfectly. He is a good man, full of faith, and a 

200 Yates The Missionary. 

good speaker, but very modest. I am thinking of organizing 
a church at Kwinsan, with him as pastor. 

With this additional responsibiHty of teaching See, you will 
perceive that my hands are full of interesting work, a work in 
which angels might rejoice to participate. 

May 4. — Two more received for baptism. Three others are 
applying. Still others, as the Chinese say, "are praying, but 
have not found comfort." 

In three days the Convention will meet in Atlanta. I shall 

be with it in spirit. 

Shanghai, July 15, 1879. 

For days the thermometer has marked 90 in my house. 

Having taken my class through my translation of Matthew, 
Acts, and Romans, I dismissed them at the end of June. See 
returns to his post at Kwinsan. 

Shanghai, July 10, 1879. 
To his Sister: 

When a church does what it can to make known Christ's 
gospel to all people, then they will have lively times at home, 
and in their own souls. I believe one reason wh}-- professing 
Christians do so little for others, is they do not pray for them — 
not even once a day, and consequently they feel but little in- 
terest in anything but themselves. That does not express the 
relation we sustain to God and to our brother man. As faith 
without works is dead, so a church without prayer and workers 
for Christ's cause, is dead, so far as exerting influences for good 
is concerned. I should like to know how many members of 
your new church pray in public or in their families. 

I have a church of a hundred members. A large proportion 
of them pray in prayer meetings. And they delight to talk to 
the unconverted about the great salvation. Many of the women 
are active workers. And how did I get them into this way? 
I set them to work from the day of their baptism. And now it 
is expected from every one. I used to have men give an excuse, 
"they had not the gift of prayer." That is a poor excuse, and 
one that God will not accept. The same men could buy and 
sell and talk politics and work at their trade. All of these were 
new and strange when they commenced; and so it is with prayer. 
Any man who has desires can make them known in some way. 

Yates The Missionary. 201 

And when this is done, let him stop. God abominates long and 
wordy prayers. Everything becomes handy by use. 

Set your church to work for the good of those around them. 
T^Ieet every Sunday, whether you have a pastor or not. Let 
the members conduct a meeting at the close of the Sunday 
school. Then you will soon have a revival, the influence of 
which will be felt in China. Try it; have a model church at 
work; begin at home. Then they will soon remember the 
heathen; for their souls will warm toward Christ and his cause 
among all people under the sun. Oh, that the chur-jh at home 
would drift into a wave of importunate prayer; that men would 
obey Christ's command— not strive to be good, but strive for 
the extension of Christ's kingdom. I have added ten by bap- 
tism this year. We are now having sweltering weather. But with 
us at a mission station, religion is a business, and must go on, 
hot or cold weather. 

At home, too many people regard religion as a sacred curio 
or a fine garment, that is to be used only on special occasions, 
whereas it should be used every day without being soiled, for 
it is that robe of righteousness which we must have on when 
Christ comes, at an hour when we think not. A large portion 
of the Christian world think but little of and care but little for 
the 600,000,000 who sit in the region and shadow of death. 
Gross darkness covers the earth from the east coast of Japan to 
France in the west, a distance that requires forty days steaming. 
And yet Christ has said to his disciples, "Go ye and disciple all 
nations." In obedience to this command, I have presented 
my body a living sacrifice; but, oh, what am I among so many? 

Shanghai, September 29, 1879. 

We have pulled through the most trying summer that has 
been experienced here for thirty-two years. Many died from 
the effects of the heat. 

About August i8th, without any premonitory symptoms, I 
wilted. The doctor was called in. He said, "You must leave 
by the steamer that leaves to-night for Chefoo." 

In thirty-six hours after I got to sea and had a warm salt 
water bath, I was all right, and could look at objects with a 
steady gaze. 

202 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, December 31, 1879. 

This year's work has been, from my standpoint, the most 
successful that I have yet done in China. As the miners say, 
''I seem to have struck better paying ore." Our total member- 
ship is ninety-one. 

The native members of my church contributed last year, on 
an average, more than the members of most of our churches 
in x-\merica are giving. And already they feel the blessed effects 
of having done something beyond themselves to pray for. Yes- 
terday the first fruits of the revival spirit presented themselves 
for baptism. I need some one to rejoice with me. 

The members of my church are from five provinces. When 
they return home, they will carry the seed of truth far into the 
regions beyond. This is the good providence of God. 

Tsung Tung Foo, one of the first disciples from Kwinsan. 
was excluded from the Shanghai Church. Returning to the 
house of his wealthy brother at Kwinsan, a feast was prepared, 
and all the relations of the family were invited. The household 
gods and ancestral tablets were placed before Tsung. Then his 
brother said, "If you will worship with us as of old, I will settle 
on you fifty acres of land and bear the expenses of getting 
you a wife. If you refuse, you shall never return to my house." 

Tsung replied, "The wife I want; the land would make me 
comfortable; but how can you ask me to sacrifice the interests 
of my soul? Since I have learned the way of Jesus Christ, I 
cannot and will not worship idols or tablets." 

He was fiercely driven from the house. Our brethren joy- 
fully received him back into the church. This is a sample of 
what we mean by forsaking all and following Christ. The 
Christianity that we have introduced into China is of the old 
martyr type. God forbid that we or other teachers should 
introduce here or into any other land any other type of the 
religion of Christ. 

Yates The Missionary. 203 



After he had labored in China more than thi: y-two 
years, Dr. Yates wrote this contrast between his earher 
and later work. 

It was, perhaps, well that we, as pioneer missionaries, did not 
know in advance the nature of the difficulties wath which we 
had to contend, or we might have been appalled by their mag- 

In our ignorance, without helps of any kind, as though it 
were a mere trifle that would yield to will and apphcation, we 
began the study of the language. Often we were in thick dark- 
ness, but we kept on struggling for the desired light. When, 
at last, light began to dawn upon our way, and we perceived 
that we were understood by the Chinese in common matters, 
we rejoiced in the thought that victory was now certain; that, 
henceforth, we had only to preach the gospel and the people 
would certainly embrace it. 

In this we were disappointed. For years, by day and by night, 
in chapels, in heathen temples, by the wayside, we preached the 
gospel. But the people did not, as we had expected, rush into 
the fold of the church, thanking us for bringing to them the 
message of salvation. Large audiences, with apparent interest, 
waited on our ministry. They were curious to see and to hear 
us foreigners try to speak their language. They were polite 
enough to assure us that we spoke it perfectly, and that they 
understood everything that we said. For a long time, as it 
seemed to me, no one appeared to show any signs of being 
favorably affected by the gospel message. Disappointed, but 
not cast down, we co'ntinued to preach the word and to study 
the situation. 

204 Yates The Missionary. 

As the years rolled on and we became able to use this un- 
wieldy language with greater facility, individuals came, like 
Nicodemus, to make more particular enquiries about the new 
religion. Some of these, we now know, had an eye to profit, 
expecting to secure positions as assistants or teachers. These 
may not have intended to deceive us or themselves. It is likely 
that the necessity that they should be born again was never 
apprehended by them. For during the first five or six years 
of our service our ability to present in Chinese nice shades of 
religious truth was limited. 

Some were received and baptized; others were advised to 
wait. The latter soon lost their interest in religious matters, 
the former seemed to be helpful, and we rejoiced in these first 
fruits, green though they were, for in those days we were all 
green together. These have long since gone to their reward; 
we hope that they died in the faith. Those were days to try 
men's faith and courage, and they seemed to be sincere. We 
have a better type of Chinese Christians now. 

While I rejoiced that I could speak the language, I felt that 
all was not right. There was some barrier between me and the 
people. All seemed to have a secret which I did not know; 
this barred the entrance to their hearts, I resolved to investi- 
gate this matter, to give more attention to the study of the 
Chinese people, their character and religious systems. I entered 
upon a long course of study of their inner life, and of that com- 
bination of their religious systems which unites in ancestral 
worship. This system makes a unit of the whole population 
in opposition to any and all change of every character. This 
opposition included, of course, the introduction of the gospel, 
which, from its very nature, called for radical changes. 

I found that at heart the Chinese were corrupt; that they were 
content to remain so, desiring only the means of gratifying their 
appetites and passions; that they were so completely under the 
influence of their priests and systems that they had neither will 
nor power to extricate themselves. 

Even in material things they were in mortal dread of innova- 
tions. The erection of a house, especially of a high one, and 
still more a church with a tower, filled the neighborhood with 

Yates The Missionary. 205 

anxiety. Every family in the vicinity resorted to counteracting 
measures. A basket and broom, for instance, were suspended 
in an elevated position to sweep up and receive all bad influ- 
ences. They supposed the atmosphere to be alive with the 
spirits of the dead, and dreaded lest some evil should befall 
them, if its even flow was disturbed by any obstruction. 

Still more direful was their fear of offending the gods and 
forfeiting their aid by making any change in their religion. 
To oppose the gods and renounce ancient customs rendered 
one liable to far more dreadful punishments than would be 
incurred by open rebellion against the Imperial Government. 
Indeed, these two governments, one for the living and another 
for the dead, they believe to be correlative. 

Thus, by superstitious fears their ears had been closed to the 
message of truth and the invitations of mercy. 

This gloomy investigation through dark and haunted regions 
and dens of demons I have prosecuted for years. While it has 
revealed the true condition of this deluded people, it has brought 
no relief; it has only given us clearer conceptions of the nature 
and magnitude of the difficulties which must be overcome in 
bringing the Chinese to a knowledge of God and to faith in 
the Saviour. 

The four hundred millions of China are afflicted with a mental 
and moral paralysis. Over against this malady, the natural 
tendency of which is to propagate itself, stands the gospel which 
Christ commanded his disciples to preach to every creature. 

I must confess that when I was excavating deep down into 
their minds to find the secret springs of their religion and their 
motives for worshiping the dead, and found stratum after 
stratum of evil and of false hopes, all emanating from and con- 
centrating on themselves, the discovery was far from reassuring. 

But results are matters concerning which we have received 
no instructions and about which we should not distress our- 
selves. Obedience and fidelity in preaching the gospel are re- 
quired of us; results are with God. And we have abundant 
evidence that the Spirit of Truth can and does reach and renew 
the hearts even of Chinese men and women. 

After these days of trial and of exhausting labors, a better 

2o6 Yates The Missionary. 

class of enquirers came forward. Some of these had tried all 
their systems of religion, and still their hearts were not at rest. 
But the gospel seemed to promise just what the}' felt the need 
of. Among these was Wong Ping San, who was Mrs. Craw- 
ford's school teacher. In process of time, he became deeply- 
convicted, lie studied the New Testament, but all that he read 
condemned him. One night, after reading a chapter, he felt 
his lost condition so keenly that he continued long in prayer. 
When he retired to bed, he could not sleep. He got up and 
prayed again. This he did frequently throughout the night. 
He searched his heart to see if he had freely and fully forgiven 
every enemy. At last, when he had been praying and waiting 
long for the promised blessing, his distress of mind and sense 
of condenmation seemed to have departed and were succeeded 
by a peace of mind which he could not comprehend. He 
wanted to go to see Mr. Crawford, but he would not disturb 
him. Feeling no inclination to sleep now, he waited fcr the light 
of day, when he could enquire of Mr. Crawford what was the 
matter. One can imagine what took place when they met at 
an early hour the next morning. He was baptized by me; for 
at that time I was the pastor of the church. In the course of 
time he was ordained, and was placed in charge of the ^church 
as its native pastor. 

Rev. Wong is not a graduate, but is a fair scholar m Chinese 
literature, and is something of a wit. He knows the Bible well, 
and has a wonderful memory. As the Chinese have no occa- 
sion for public speaking, Wong has never given special atten- 
tion to that art. His usual position in the pulpit is to stand 
with his right foot across the left. This is not a graceful atti- 
tude, but it seems to be a natural and comfortable one for him. 
In his efforts to imitate us, he is often ungainly in his gesticu- 
lation. If one will spread his fingers and thumb as wide apart 
as he can and bring his little finger, without crooking it much, 
down near the palm of the hand, keeping the thumb in its dis- 
tended position, the other fingers will naturally assume the 
graceful position for a Chinese gentleman's hand. They have 
acquired this habit by carrying their hands in this position in 

• Yates The Missionary. 207 

order to keep their long sleeves from falling over their hands. 
The thumb and little finger form a rest for the sleeve. 

Being naturally of a timid disposition, Pastor Wong has not 
developed into a bold reformer. While he has made great 
progress in his knowledge of the Scriptures, and in methods 
of presenting truth, he has not made corresponding growth in 
efficiency as a preacher or as a pastor. In fact, 1 know no 
native preacher, even among those who have been educated 
abroad, who has risen above a certain Chinese standard, and 
that is mainly a mental one. They cannot transgress their 
rules of propriety. These are as old as the oldest grave-hills, 
which have not been obliterated for ages. This is true of all 
who make any pretension to education. In fact, all who have 
studied the Confucian classics seem to have come out of the 
same mould. The several native preachers whom I know are 
all of the same stamp. They seem to be converted men, and. 
up to a certain point, within a certain sphere, they are true and 
zealous workers. Beyond that point they are not as efficient 
as I had fondly desired to find native co-workers. 

It may be that I have expected too much, for they are human; 
and I am not unaware of the powerful combinations against 
the new religion and its teachers. 

At this stage of our work a native preacher will not dare to 
maintain the truth as the foreigner does. Hence the fallacy 
of the position assumed and acted upon by some who, believ- 
ing that China will have to be Christianized by native agency, 
devote themselves mainly to the education and training of 
native preachers. I acknowledge the utility of native agency 
as a sort of volunteer corps to do certain kinds of work, when 
properly superintended. But to overcome the long standing 
and deeply seated errors of the Chinese Empire will require 
"regulars," and these should be properly sustained and rein- 
forced in good season. American and European Christians 
need to realize that the work that is to be done by them in 
China is only just begun. Their presence and guidance will be 
needed for several generations before this work can be entrusted 
to native agency. 

The rank and file of our membership are about equal to the 

2o8 Yates The Missionary. 

members of the country churches of North CaroHna. In some 
respects they are far superior. In my Shanghai church, every 
man and woman promises, when received for baptism, to con- 
tribute of their means, and to do all in their power for the ad- 
vancement of the cause of Christ. They contribute a much 
larger average per member for sending the gospel to regions 
beyond. For two years my church, in addition to paying the 
salary of the native pastor, have contributed an average of $1.20 
per member to send the gospel to Soochow, the capital of this 
province. This I conceive to be a part of the religious education 
that every pastor is morally bound to give his charge. As to 
a man's declining to lead in prayer when called upon, none of 
our members know how to refuse. It is a thing expected of 
him, and he will do the best he can. He generally does pretty 
well, much better than I did when I commenced. 

During these last few years I have devoted much time and 
labor to teaching our members who could spare the time, in 
classes of four or five. This has enabled me to make an im- 
portant discovery. I now find that those who have been taught 
in a class and have something definite to think about are the 
most intelligent, active, and efficient men and women in my 
church. These, though a small minority, contribute the bulk 
of the funds raised by the church. The moral is evident. In 
order that there may be intelligent and liberal church members, 
ways and means must be devised for increasing their knowledge 
as to their obligations. 

May I whisper a great secret into the ears of every Baptist 
church in North Carolina? Meet every Lord's day at your 
house of prayer, whether you have a preacher or not. Meet 
for prayer, the study of God's word, and the consideration of 
the condition of mankind, even if you cannot get more than 
three to agree to it. Others will hear of it and come. God will 
bless you in your own souls and make you a blessmg to the 

Modern missions are only the result of a clearer perception 
and application of the true spirit and letter of the gospel. For, 
if there be one truth clearly set forth in the teachings of our 
Lord and his apostles, it is that the gospel was designed for 

Yates The Missionary. 209 

itll people. Christ also gave us an example as to how it was to 
be made known to all people. He taught the twelve, and then 
sent them forth two and two to teach and preach. This was 
part of their education to prepare them for what was required 
of them after the bridegroom had been taken away. After His 
resurrection, He "spake unto them, saying: All power is given 
unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach 
all nations." The work committed to every church of Christ 
is to make known this gospel to all nations. The ways and 
means they must provide. They are simply told to go and do it. 

Paul and Barnabas, who were Foreign Missionaries, were 
called by the Holy Spirit, just as the foreign missionaries of 
modern times have been called. For I suppose that few have 
embarked in this work without a distinct and abiding impres- 
sion that it was their duty to do so. They have renounced 
worldly ambition for distinction among men, and have con- 
secrated themselves wholly to the service of Christ and to the 
good of lost and ruined men. 

I doubt not that there are now many in our churches, mem- 
bers of the learned professions, who have felt that it was their 
duty to devote their lives to the ministry of the word, and, per- 
haps, to enter the foreign field. They have had the call, but the 
sacrifice they have not made. Failing to do this and choosing 
their own vocation, they have discounted their happiness even 
in this life. It is a good thing to seek the path of religious 
duty, and to walk therein; it is a fearful thing to quench the 
Holy Spirit. 

Many years ago I gave myself unto the Lord, and promised 
to follow him in whatever duty and to whatever field of labor 
He might direct. Paul did no more; none of us can do less 
without neglect of duty and loss of the reward for obedience. 
I was directed to China, and in the prosecution of the duty 
assigned me, I have been called upon to pass through great 
tribulations. But these have all proved to be rich blessings. 

210 Yates The Missionary. 


SACRED STRATEGY 1S80-1884 — AGE 6 I -65. 

OT long after entering upon his work ns Sec- 
retary of the Foreign ]\Iission Board, in Rich • 
moncl, Dr. WilUngham asked Mr. J. C Wil- 
liams, the Treasurer and oldest menibei' of the 
Board, "What did you all think of Yates?" Mr. Wil- 
liams replied, "He was regarded by the Board not 
merely as a missionary but as a statesman. If he had 
remxained in this country, he could have retained dis- 
iinction in any of the walks of life. He was u very great 

That this estimate of the man was well-founded an i 
not due merely to fraternal partiality is evidenced by 
the scope of his vision, the magnitude of his plans, and 
Uie earnestness of his tireless endeavors to carry these 
plans into execution. 

While Dr. Yates was actively and incessantly engaged 
m his local work at Shanghai, preaching- teaching, 
translating, he was also planning to seize for Christ the 
most important strategic points in Central Cnina. 

Shanghai, September 7, 1880. 

I have surveyed and studied a line of attack for the Southern 
Baptists, i. e., the line of the great river Yang-tsz to the Szchuen 
Province in the West. By the most convenient line for trans- 
portation by steamers, we divide the Empire in two, and have 
a center line from which to work northward and southward. 

This programme involves a new departure in our methods 
of supporting Foreign Missions. We might as well make up 
our minds first as last on this one point, that our Missions 
cannot be supported by the few who are now heartily mterested. 
When pastors and people awake to a sense of their duty and 

Yates The Missionary. 211 

privilege in this matter, Southern Baptists can support fifty 
men as easily as they now do three or four. 

Later on, with more of detail, he gave the following 
outline of his far-reaching plans: 

In my pioneer work I was able, at an early day, to spy out 
the goodly portions of this, the Kiang-Soo Province. I studied 
the lay of the land, the trend of the navigable canals which in- 
tersect this wide plain like the streets of a city, and the juxta- 
position of the most populous and wealthy cities, towns, and 
villages. This was done with a view of locating a permanent 
Mission field for the Shanghai Mission, one which would pre- 
sent the greatest facilities for access by the common canal 
passenger boats. These have houses upon them. Mrs. Yates 
and I, with our child, lived for a month in one of them, as we 
passed from city to city in this populous region. 

In due time, with Shanghai as a base of operations, I chose 
Soochow, on the Grand Canal, and Chinkiang, at ""he junction 
of the Grand Canal with the Yang-tsz River, as great centers 
for a great work, when the men should be found to occupy 
them. These three cities, from a commercial point of view, 
dominate a population of more than twenty million souls. They 
are situated in the form of a right angled triangle; the Grand 
Canal forming one side; an equally grand canal from Shanghai 
to Soochow forming the other side; while the Yang-tsz River 
is the hypothenuse of the triangle. From Shanghai to Soochow 
is eighty-five miles; from Soochow to Chinkiang is one hundred 
and twenty-seven miles; from Chinkiang to Shanghai is one 
hundred and fifty-seven miles by the river. 

In addition to these three cities at the angles of the triangle, 
there are on the great canals, or within thirty miles, and easy 
of access by boat, more than a dozen walled cities, each having 
one, two, or three hundred thousand souls, numerous large 
villages of ten, twenty, or thirty thousand, and hundreds of 
smaller villages, within a few minutes walk of each other, and 
m.any within call, while others seem continuous — ail teeming 
with immortal souls. 

Having labored alone since 1863, and thinking that the time 

212 Yates The Missionary. 

Lad certainly come for this Mission to be reinforced, I pro- 
ceeded to occupy Soochow. Having secured a good position 
in one of the main streets of the city, I erected a chapel, and 
constituted a church of nine members, a colony from the mother 
church at Shanghai, these members having returned to their 
native city. 

The following letter, written early in 1880, tells of 
Dr. Yates' first efforts to occupy positions on his "line 
of attack." 

Last October Brother Wong and I proceeded to Kwinsan 
and constituted a church of sixteen members. We ordained 
See T'ay as pastor, and also two deacons. Two members have 
since been added. The Kwinsan church has a good start, hav- 
ing a house built by the Shanghai Mission on land belonging 
to the pastor, See T'ay. This contains a chapel, a dispensary 
room, pastor's study, and dwelling house. 

They regard the Shanghai church as the mother church, to 
which they can apply for counsel. Few cities suffered more 
during the Rebellion; but, in spite of their poverty, I insisted 
in my charge to the church that each member, male and female, 
should contribute to the support of the church and to the cause 
of Christ. A letter from the pastor inform^ me that they have 
all promised what they would give each month. This is a 
good beginning. Few at home are as poor as the richest mem- 
ber of this church. 

Thirty miles beyond Kwinsan is Soochow. I sent P'ay Tsz 
Oo, a native of that city, thither last July to begin work. In 
the tea shops and highways he met so many who were anxious 
to know more of the way of life, that he petitioned for a room 
or two in which he could meet his enquirers for quiet conversa- 
tion and prayer. At my request, the pastor and a deacon of the 
Kwinsan church went to Soochow, and, after conferring with 
P'ay Tsz Oo, succeeded in renting a suitable house at less than 
$3 per month. 

The Shanghai church has contributed this year $273. In 
addition to this, they have sundry charities among themselves. 

I was never more encouraged in my work than I am now. 

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Stations of the A. B. M. U. in this tyxje, SwatOW. ^S. Southern Baptist Convention. 

Yates The Missionary. 213 

And, although single handed, I was never more determined to 
prosecute it, so long as I have strength. 

Shanghai, February, 1880. 
To the Recorder: 

Mrs. Yates and our daughter are probably in New York by 
this time. They have not been in America for more than twenty 

I am alone, and yet not alone. God is with me more and 
more to sustain and comfort and guide. I feel like one who, 
after a long journey, is getting near his home. I am well, full 
of life, full of work, and have a will to do it. 

Tell Dr. Brooks to look up. It will soon be time to ring 
the bell at the entrance. We shall meet on that shore. 

Shanghai, February 10, 1880. 
To the Recorder: 

This is the Chinese New Year. Next year it will fall on some 
other day of February or January. In 1879 they had an inter- 
calary month. That advanced their year into February. The 
object is to bring the period of worshiping their ancestors to 
the right season, i. e., when peach blossoms put forth. 

At the New Year all Chinamen are required to settle all their 
bills; otherwise, they will not be able to get credit another 
year. Few people sleep on New Year's night. All are in debt, 
and they all spend that night in dunning one another. Some 
debtors who know that they cannot settle up, secrete them- 
selves till daylight on New Year's day. Then his creditor can- 
not dun unless he carries a lantern. But, with this, he can dun 
till the sun shines, and have an opportunity of putting the 
debtor to the blush before his friends, and thus make public 
his failure. 

All Chinamen spend New Year's day at home, if possible. 
They think that the spirits of dead ancestors may return on 
that day. They spend the day in gambling or in making music 
(that is, all the noise they can) on gongs, drums, bugles, and 
other grating instruments, and all in the same room. 

On the next two days the men swarm out dressed in their 
best (and often hired) robes, to make calls. The caller's large 
red card precedes him, that all may be in readiness. On enter- 

214 Yates The Missionary. 

ing. lie and his host rush at each other, each with his own 
hands clasped just beneath his chin, each trying to bow lower 
than the other, and each wishing the other great happiness. 
The women enjoy the good eating and seeing the men and 
children have a good time. This they can do by peeping 
through the cracks in the hall. 

Festivities are kept up till the evening of the *ourth day. 
which is the feast of the god of wealth. This is the god of 
China. All make offerings and crave prosperity in business. 
The constant roar from the explosion of popcrackers will not 
give much chance for quiet sleep that night. What would 
Paul have said if, in addition to the idolatry of Athens, had 
been superadded the incessant din of firecrackers? These are 
the weapons with which the Chinese fight demons and evil 
spirits, in constant dread of whom they spend all their lives. 

Shanghai, March 20, 1880. 

The present stage of our work requires the best gifts of 
wisdom and prudence. The man that I want is a thoroughly 
educated man; one who has taken a theological course; one 
who loves the praise of God more than the praise of men; one 
who is ready to devote his life to the service of God. 

If he has seen some service at home, and the brethren think 
he can be spared, so much the better. The man who can find 
nothing to do at home is not the man for China. I crave a man 
of the best gifts of body, mind, and spirit, and a sound consti- 
tution. If he has a wife, she should be a good match in these 
respects, and a real helpmeet. 

Shanghai, May 11, 1880. 

In our Shanghai church some one moved that, as we receive 
blessings each day, we should contribute daily. This was unan- 
imously carried. Also that the minimum contribution should 
be three cash per day (about ten cents a month). Some one 
proposed that one very poor member should be excused. He 
objected, saying: "Do not I want the reward of doing good?" 
A month or two ago he handed in fifty more cash than the 
motion required. It was proposed to return the excess to him, 
but he declined to receive it. 

"This month," said he, "I have sold a piece of cloth for one 

Yates The Missionary. 215 

hundred more cash than I expected. I also did a job of work 
with the same result. I make a thankoffering of twenty-five 

cash on each." 

Shanghai, May 28, 1880. 

A week ago we received two Chinese for baptism, and ex- 
cluded one for getting drunk and acting disorderly. Such mem- 
bers, if allowed to remain in a church, exert a bad influence. 
Our rule is to keep the church pure and active; otherwise the 
lazy, dead members would soon degrade and kill ofT those who 
are active and consistent. 

If a church member feels no interest in the spread of the 
Master's cause, and fails to show his interest by praying and 
working for it, then that branch is wilted, if not dead. 

It is hard to get these heathen up to this standard, but they 
are coming up to it beyond my expectation. 

Dr. Yates interested himself at this time and subse- 
quently in introducing into China a number of improved 
varieties of fruit trees, grape vines, and berry bearing 
plants. He was especially anxious to try whether the 
delicious scuppernong grape and certain apples which 
he had known in his youth could be naturalized in his 
adopted home. Mr. S. O. Wilson, who at that time had 
a nursery near Raleigh, sent to Dr. Yates all the trees, 
vines, and shrubs that he asked for. The freight on 
these was cheerfully paid by Dr. Bailey, of Raleigh. 

Shanghai, June 29, 1880. 
In May — from overwork, the doctor says — I had a severe 
attack of illness. For a change of air, I went to Chefoo. 

It was during this sojourn at Chefoo that Dr. Yates 
first became aware of the presence of the abscess to 
which frequent references are made in his subsequent 
letters. This soon became very painful, and ultmately 
\/as so serious a matter as to necessitate repeated surgi- 
cal operations, and even to imperil his life. This new 
atHiction, as will soon appear, greatly hindered his active 
ministry. There are grounds, however, for thinking 
"ihat it was a blessing in disguise, for, wh.iie debarrei 

2i6 Yates The Missionary. 

Ironi preaching, he devoted himself more assiduously to 
the translation of the New Testament. 

The life of each of God's children is as trnly guided 
and overruled as was that of Joseph. In his case the 
veil has been drawn aside by the Holy Spirit, and the 
divine leading revealed to us. As to our own lives, we 
csn discern, for the most part, only the humaii influences 
vvhich affect them. "What I do thou knowest no' now.'' 
And yet we can sometimes understand, at least in part, 
how tljc sv\-eet has come forth from the bitter, and light 
from darkness. Perhaps we can now see that D** Yates' 
manifold trials and disappointments, not onlv developed 
his spiritual lite, but actually promoted the vvork which 
they seemed to have interrupted or delayed. 

He chafes at his meager opportunities for eany edu- 
cation. But when, at last, his chance comes, practical 
wisdom has been acquired. 

Just when it seems most needed, his ey^siglit fails. 
As a result, he learns to sfteak in Chinese iis no othe* 
foreigner can do. 

When, after many years he has "reached the Chinese 
heart," his voice suddenly fails. And, lo, the native 
• hurch becomes aggressive and goes to work. 

He is cut off by war from supplies from home. Then 
the position which he is compelled to accept to make a 
support gives him unbounded influence w'lh tie Chi- 
nese, and supplies him with means for useii'.lnes<^. 

And now a thorn in the flesh is sent to buffet him anl 
threaten to drive him from the pulpit. The result is 
the translation of the New Testament into the spoken 
language of many millions. 

While thus disabled and suffering, he sorely missed 
the sympathy and help of his wife and daughter. They 
had sailed for the United States December 4th, 1879. 
More than twenty years had elapsed since Mrs. Yates 
had met her kindred in North Carolina. On November 
14th, 1880, the travelers were again in Shanghai. 

Yates The Missionary. 217 

Shanghai, July 14, 1880. 
I have transhitcd the gospel of John into the dialect of this 
province and have carefully revised ray translation of Romans. 
It is now ready for the press. But I have no money. Is it 
possible for you to get me an appropriation of, say, $500 for 
an edition of the sacred Scriptures in which "baptize" is trans- 
lated "immerse," instead of "the washing ceremony," as in other 
versions? If not, I shall have to sell some of my little property, 
for I must have it. It is my intention to continue devoting the 
forenoon of each day to translation till I complete the New 
Testament in this dialect. 

The Board authorized a special effort for the raising 
kA the amount asked for, and in due time it was placed 
at Dr. dates' disposal for the publication of his \ersion. 

The Executive Committee of some Association had 
ssked Dr. Yates to reconmiend a native Chinese mis- 
sionary to be supported by them, and to report to them 
quarterly. Extracts fromi his reply will show his opin 
ions as to the wisdom of this plan. 

Shanghai, July 27, 1880. 

I could not advise our friends to commence a separate Mis- 
sion work in this way. In fact, I am now, after some experience 
and observation, strongly opposed to individuals, companies of 
individuals, or even Mission Boards appointing native preachers 
direct, and fixing their salaries. This plan, even though the 
man is placed under the missionaries of a station, has not been 
found to work well. 

Now, if the brethren will undertake to support the Soochow 
station, here is an opportunity for them to have what they may 
call their special work. This they can do by depositing their 
money with the Board at Richmond, and I will draw on the 
Board. This is the safest and most economical way of trans- 
mitting funds to this field. 

The Central and Raleigh Associations raise my salary in this 
way, and they do not demand a report from me. I should like 
to spend a few months with those Baptists. What a grand work 
they might do! Were they to discard the old idea of a charity 
to the poor heathen, and contribute to Foreign Missions as an 

2i8 Yates The Missionary. 

net of worship in obedience to Christ, and contribute an average 
equal to that given by my little church from among the heathen, 
they would raise $60,000 annually for Foreign Missions. 

The following paragraphs from Dr. Yatts' pen, 
ihongli written after this time, give fuller expression to 
some of the opinions advanced in the foregoing letter. 
'J hey seem to have been his matured convictions as to 
mission methods: 

Having my eyes and ears open during my visit to the United 
States, I could not fail to perceive that there was a diversity 
of views, at least among the leaders of Ihe churches, in certain 
quarters, in regard to the method of carrying on the Foreign 
Mission work through a Central Board. In fact, there seemed 
to be a sort of antagonism between certain churches, or their 
leaders, and the Foreign Mission Board. That this state of 
feeling does exist has been evinced by private letters received 
since my return to China, and by requests from more than one 
party for my personal receipt for moneys contributed for the 
Foreign Mission work. They repose every confidence in me, 
but they seem disinclined to entrust their funds to an organiza- 
tion outside of their churches. They must be jealous of the 
rights of their church, for it cannot be that there is any want of 
confidence in the high toned brethren who compose the acting 

Dear brethren in the Lord, this state of things ought not to 
continue. Are we not co-workers in the great scriptural enter- 
prise that has for its end the extension of Christ's kingdom over 
the whole world? Then let us not, by a multiplicity of counsels, 
divide and weaken our forces before the enemy. Let me say 
in love to all who have had scruples about co-operating cordi- 
ally with the so-called central organization, that, to carry on the 
Foreign Mission work successfully and economically, a Board 
or Committee is a necessity. 

The permanency of the work abroad demands that it be 
directed and supplied by a Central Board. A State or an Asso- 
ciation, or even a few churches might, by an efTort, send out 
a missionary and support him for a few years. But, in the event 

Yates The Missionary. 219 

of sickness and death, etc., the work thus commenced is liable 
to become a total loss. An organization is more likely to have 
men enough in the field to look after the work of one who may 
be called away, till his place can be supplied. Hence, the work 
of a part, if done through the Foreign Mission Board, is more 
likely to be permanent than if undertaken independently. A 
word to the wise is sufficient. 

Another evil under the sun. Having appointed a Board, 
which is nothing more than a committee of all the churches, to 
attend to their foreign work, by far too large a proportion of 
the churches act as though they felt that the responsibility of 
looking after and providing for the missionaries depended on 
the Board. 

Dearly beloved, let us not, by a want of unity of views and 
concert of action, neglect the work committed to us. Let us 
unite our forces, contribute of our means as an act of worship, 
and press forward till all idolatry and all false religions shall 
be swept from the earth, and Christ shall be crowned Lord of all. 

Shanghai, Septembci 9, 1880. 
To his Sister: 

You have seen my pets, my queens, and now know more 
about them than I do. I have had rather a hard time all alone, 
with a terrible abscess. It was operated on in July; and now, 
after two months, the wound still refuses to heal. My general 
health is good, and I hope, sooner or later, to get rid of this 
thorn in the flesh. 

My work is progressing slowly. As usual, God is my refuge 
and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

S must cultivate the habit of reading good books, and 

must read much aloud to you. She must complete her education 
by study at home. And she must make it a rule not to pass by 
anything that she does not know; if a word, to look it up in the 
dictionary; if a place, to look it up on the map. And she must 
try to remember everything of importance that she hears and 
reads. She must not devote any hour to fiddle-faddle, but be 
at some sort of work. The mind needs food and clothing as 
well as the body. 

Give my love to my old friend John C. Wilson, my son in 

220 Yates The Missionary. 

the ministry. ]\Iay the Lord continue to bless his labors. If 
he will study the Bible with my glasses, he will find that Foreign 
Missions is the whole gospel. The prophets told what should 
be the extent of Christ's kingdom; and, when He came, suffered, 
and rose again, His teachings was, Go: preach to all nations. 

Shanghai, September 21, 1880. 

Strange things reach me from Soochow. After P'ay had 
preached from "The light of the body is the eye," etc., a man 
with sore eyes came up and asked if he could do anything for 
his eyes. P'ay said that he was not a doctor, but that he had 
some eye medicine. He applied some salve, and told the man 
to believe in Jesus, who was able to open the eyes of the blind 
and to save his soul. Strange to say, in less than twenty-four 
hours the man came to show him that his eyes were well. 

Soon, others came to be treated, and in a short time they too 
were all well. Of course the news spread from mouth to mouth. 
All who came were healed. 

A man, racked with pain all over, who had been given up 
by the native doctors, came, or rather, was brought. P'ay 
firotested that he was not a doctor; that he preached Jesus as 
the Saviour of all who believe. The man insisted that he be- 
lieved, and begged to have something done for him. Where- 
upon, P'ay had him stripped and rubbed him all over with his 
eye medicine, prayed over him, and told him to go and believe 
in Jesus. He came back that same day to show that he was well, 
and to return thanks. 

P'ay sent for the Kwinsan pastor to come to Soochow at 
once. After seeing with his own eyes, the latter came straight 
to me to report and to deliver messages from P'ay, who says 
that he has no time to preach, except to the crowds of all 
classes who come for treatment. 

I am not fully satisfied that all I hear is reliable. I send you 
what I hear and the evidence. 

Oh, for men and women to reap these fields now white unto 
the harvest! Men and women so consecrated to God that they 
would not think of position, honor, comfort, or even life itself. 
For God takes care of all these things in the case of those who 
commit themselves to him. 

Yates The Missionary. 221 

Shanghai, November 7, 1880. 

This has been a glorious day with me. At 9:30 I preached 
in Enghsh at my new church on the Great Commission Then 
I baptized three men, an Enghshman, a Swede, and an Ameri- 
can. They said that they were not satisfied with their baptism 
in infancy, and wished to obey Christ — beHeve, and then be 

At 10:30 I took the pulpit again and preached to a house full 
of Chinese. After the sermon, we had a good communion 
season. This occupied my time till 12 o'clock. Then I went 
to my room, and, after earnestly asking God's blessing on the 
labors of the day, I sat alone in sweet meditation upon that 
precious promise, "And lo, I am with you alway," and upon 
the fidelity of Christ in fulfilling His promises. My cup of bless- 
ing ran over, and —oh, well, I just had a good swim in the love 
of God. The cup of blessing is so near to every Christian, and 
yet how few ever partake of it. 

Shanghai, November 15, 1880. 

Yesterday at noon we had the great joy of welcoming home 
Mrs. Yates and our daughter, Mrs. Seamans. They arrived in 
fine weather, and in good health and spirits. During the entire 
voyage of over two months they did not encounter a single 
storm. Such a thing is unprecedented. They are delighted above 
measure to be at their own home ojice more. Truly God has 
been good to mc and mine. Blessed be His name forever. 

The abscess has assumed a serious character, and causes me 
some trouble and anxiety. 

Shanghai, November, 1880. 
Mrs. Yates to Dr. Tupper, Cor. Sec: 

The trip to America did me great good. It was tiresome, all 
that journeying and jolting, but I am so much stronger that I 
feel repaid. 

I do not think that it would have been well for me to stay 
there much longer There was so much to enjoy, and then, 
America, as a country is so much more attractive than China 
that I might have found myself unwilling to come back here. 
But being here, I am well content to stay and try to do a little 
good among the women and children of China. 

222 Yates The Missionary. 

It was during these months of suffering and anxiety 
that Dr. Yates wrote the latter portions of tlie remi 
niscences, condensed extracts from which are, perhaps, 
the most interesting parts of our story. In a letter date J 
November 29, 1880, he said: "My reminiscences are like 
a bamboo, having many joints and no style. The last 
batch was written amid forty interruptions." 

He began these reminiscences with these inlroduc- 
tory paragraphs: 

I deem no apology necessary for consenting to write a series 
of letters about myself and work, which must of necessity con- 
tain much of autobiography, for mj'^ sole aim in doing so is 
to promote the glory of God in the extension of Christ's king- 
dom among men of all nations. 

In pursuance of this design, I shall take the liberty to pursue 
trains of thought that were suggested, at the time, by the vari- 
ous situations in which I have been placed at home and abroad; 
and to animadvert freely upon whatever I think will be of 
service to such as may be in similar situations in life, increase 
the efficiency of the churches of Christ, and promote the glory 
of God. 

What I shall have to say of the incidents of my life before 
I sailed for China in 1846, was written more than thirty years 

On the eve of his departure for China, in 1885, Rev 
D. W. Herring wrote, *T)r. Yates' reminiscences were 
among the means by which God showed me my duty." 

Shanghai, December 14, 1880. 

The year 1880 has been one of sore trial and affliction in the 
flesh. But I feel that I am nearer to my heavenly Father and 
able to hold sweeter communion with Him than ever before. 

Regular services from three to five times a week have been 
maintained at our two Shanghai churches. Also at Tong-ka- 
pong, Kwinsan, and Soochow. For a time P'ay, who was in 
charge in the latter city, was evidently blinded by the glare of 
popularity, and I feared that there was great danger of his being 
carried away by the current of fame and lost to the cause in the 

Yates The Missionary. 223 

provincial city. But late news from there reports him as being 
very penitent and as co-operating cordially with Deacon Tsung. 

If the work is to be continued here with any hope of prog- 
ress, we must have more men. I want to occupy the cities 
along the Yang-tsz River between Shanghai and Ichang, a 
distance of over eight hundred miles. Fifty, or even a hundred, 
men could be located to great advantage along this river; but 
so long as the great majority of the pastors in the South feel 
but little interest in Foreign Missions, how is this field, now 
leady for occupation, to be supplied? If Christians could only 
see and feel that the spirit of Missions is the very life and spirit 
of the Gospel and obligatory upon all alike, it would seem to be 
an easy matter for all our churches to average one dollar per 
member each year and support fifty men in China as easily as 
they now do three or four. My native members do more than 

Mrs. Yates' school for girls and my school for boys have been 
vSustained at our expense. I hope in days to come to receive 
fruit from these schools. Some of Mrs. Yates' girls can repeat 
from memory the whole of Matthew and Acts, and also "My 
two Friends." 

Dr. Yates' opinions as to mission schools and In's 
grounds for thes(i opinions had been fully expressed 
before The Missionary Conference: 

I wish to say a word in favor of schools as a means of eradi- 
cating idolatry. 

The Chinese are nearly all idolaters. Many years ago I 
resolved to find out the secret by which so many millions were 
all made of one mind. A Chinese friend, who would not him- 
self give me the desired information, told me that if I would 
go to a certain temple on the first and fifteenth of the month, 
I could find out for myself. I went and took a position where 
I could see what was to be done before the idol. Soon a well 
dressed Chinese lady came in with three children, aged about 
three, five, and seven years. The two older boys ran forward 
and performed their prostrations in the usual way, and then 
called their younger brother to come forward and do as they 
had done. 

224 Yates The Missionary. 

But this was evidently the child's first visit to the temple, 
for he was very much frightened at the sight of the idol, though 
this had been screened so as to show only the face, and thus 
rendered less hideous. The mother dragged the child into the 
proper position, and, standing behind it, forced it to bow slightly 
three times. She then adroitly extracted from her commodious 
sleeve a variety of toys and candies and gave them to the child, 
saying that the god had given him these nice things because 
he was a good boy. She then asked him to thank the god, 
and he did it. 

I remained at the temple most of the day and witnessed the 
induction of the children into the mysteries of idolatry. 

On the fifteenth of the month I was in my old position again. 
Soon the mother with the three children entered. The youngest 
was not so frightened as before, but went of his own accord into 
position, saying to his mother, "I don't know how to do it." 
He was assisted and rewarded as before. The other boys wished 
to know why they were not rewarded, and got the answer, ''Be- 
cause you are bad boys." 

From that time that child was an idolater. The fright and 
the presents had welded the chain. 

Now, schools for children provide for their religious teach- 
ing till they are too old to be deceived in this way. And there 
is every reason to hope that those who have spent a few years 
in a foreign school, when they become mothers, will not de- 
ceive their offspring before an idol. 

A letter from Mrs. Yates to a lady in the United 
States, written at this time, contains particulars about 
her ''school for girls." Her views about beneficence aro 
very suggestive. 

Just now we are building a new school house — a boarding 
school for girls. With our daughter's help, we intend to pay 
all expenses without asking money of the Board or of any one 
else. I do not have much faith in money that has to be begged. 
Free-will offerings are what I like. 

For example; I do not suppose that ever asks her 

brothers for anything. But they love her so dearly that they 

Yates The Missionary. 225 

are constantly giving her presents. Suppose they had to be 
begged and reasoned with, as most professed Christians have 
to be before they will contribute to the Lord's work; would 
she have the same pleasure in receiving the gifts? 

Now I have come to feel that it is almost an insult to our 
Lord for money to be given for preaching the gospel m heathen 
lands because somebody begs for it. We are willing to share 
our good things with those whom we love; have we any right 
to say that we love the Lord so long as we are unwilling to 
give to him? On this ground it is that we are going to do in 
this new school what we can ourselves, asking help from no one. 

The pupils will probably be few at first, for we shall allow no 
foot-binding. I am sorry that many of the native Christians 
cling to the horrid custom. They think that natural feet are 
ugly and cramped feet pretty. They say that no desirable young 
man will marry their daughters unless their feet are bound. 
But the leaven will work, albeit slowly, and the time is not far 
distant when the custom will be abandoned. 

Shanghai, Januarj' 12, 1881. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey: 

Is old Brother David Justice, who used to live near Mt. 

Vernon church, still living? If so, I want Brother Skinner, 

at his earliest convenience, to call on him for me, kiss him on 

each cheek a kiss of Christian love, and, before ne receives 

his crown of glory, thank him for his prayers since I have been 

in China, and for all that he did for me while I was at college, 

striving to fit myself for work among the heathen. 

Shanghai, May 3, 1881. 
Brother Wong has just returned from Kwinsan and Soochow 
with a glowing account of the encouraging prospects at these 
stations. The brethren there have a working spirit, and there 
are many enquiries after the new religion. Most Chinese en- 
quirers, however, grow faint hearted when they find out that 
the new religion amputates all sins. 

Shanghai, January 14, 1881. 
Mrs. Yates to a relative in N. Carolina: 
Time runs fast away, and one's life gets more and more busy, 

226 Yates The Missionary. 

at least mine does, so that the things I most desire to do are 
often left undone. I cannot tell to-day, as you generally can, 
what my work is going to be to-morrow. All manner of in- 
terruptions come upon us, and we must take them patiently, 
doing cheerfully, hour by hour, whatever is required of us. 

For the last month I have been editing "Woman's Work in 
China," and have been obliged to write a great deal. But when 
I have put up and mailed about seven hundred of them, my 
work in that line will be over for five months. Then my turn 
will come again. 

Shanghai, May 31, 1881. 
To Rev. J. P. Boyce, D.D.: 

Enclosed please find two hundred dollars to be used for the 
present necessities of the Seminary. If I were rich, I would 
cheerfully add two or three ciphers to the amount. I am, how- 
ever, thankful to be able to contribute my mite, for I delight 
in spending and being spent in a work which has for its object 
the extension of Christ's kingdom among men. For, until the 
pastors of the churches at horae are taught that it is their duty 
?nd privilege to preach the gospel to all nations, there is but 
little hope for the poor heathen. 

We shall continue to struggle, as the Seminary is now strug- 
ling, for existence. But it is God's work, and he will provide 
?nd give us grace for our day and trial. It has been no small 
trial to work alone for nearly nineteen years; and yet I have 
not been alone, for I have been permitted to prove that the 
promise, '"Lo, I am with you alway," is true. 

My affectionate regards to your fellow laborers who are co- 
workers with me in the Lord. 

This was neither the first nor the last of Dr. Yates 
gifts to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 
tn 1879 ^^^ 1^^^ contributed three thousand dollars to the 
permanent endowment. More and more, to the last, he 
believed that there was a close relation between tho 
work of the Colleges and the Seminary and his owni 
beloved work in China. And the interest in missions 
uniformly and practically show^n by College and Semi- 

Yates The Missionary. 227 

nary men, when they become pastors, proves ihat lie was 

Shanghai, June 15, 1881. 

I preach every Sunday, but am not allowed to move around 
freely. This is a real trial. If I am spared a more serious op- 
eration than I have yet undergone, I hope there will be no 
further serious interruption in my work of translating and 
preaching. But, if I have to submit to that dreaded operation, 
I may be unfitted for work all summer. The will of the Lord 
be done. He has guided us in the past. 

My friends must not think of me as a sick man. I am as 
stout as a Hercules, and as erect as a Belvidere. 

Shanghai, June 27, 1881. 
To his Sister: 

My general health is very good; but that wound is not yet 
well. It is sometimes almost well, and then it will get worse 
for a while; and that is the way I drag along from day to day. 
It has not been better for thirteen months than it is now. But 

I cannot tell when it may get worse again. I ov^e S a 

letter, but I have much to do and cannot sit long at a time for 
writing without injury. If she will have patience, I will pay 
her all. I hope she remembers that she was not created and 
educated for ornament, but for usefulness. She can start a 
Sabbath school at your country church, and be the means of 
good to others, and she will be all the better and happier for 

I suppose you and W begin to feel old, as your children 

are all grown. You must not yield to that and go sliding and 
groaning about like old people sometimes do. It is my inten- 
tion never to get old. My hair is getting gray, but my heart 
is as young as ever. I am not so springy as I used to be, but 
I am as erect as an Indian. The papers talk of me as failing 
and about to give up. If you could see me you would say: 
"Why, you look as well as I ever saw you." 

As my wound has to be dressed twice a day, I do not go into 
the country now, but I preach in my home chapel every Sunday. 

228 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, July 12, 1881. 
To the Recorder: 

Many globe trotters from England and America have made 
flying visits to some of the ports of China, have seen the surg- 
ing waves of humanity, and have picked up a few facts and 
extravagant statements about the Chinese. The accounts given 
them for their entertainment have formed the sandy foundations 
for books on China and far East. 

Now such a book may be entertaining reading, but it cannot 
he accepted as a reliable account of a country which is almost 
as much a terra incognita as Atlantis. 

The heathen Chinese are said to be "peculiar." Is it strange 
that they are? Their civilization is what it was in the days of 
Socrates. Until recently they have had no knowledge of the 
science and progress of the Western nations. Their symbolic 
characters are so unlike the methods of writing everywhere 
else, that they have never been able to avail themselves of 
Western scientific and literary works. 

On the other hand. Western scholars have long been ignorant 
about China and her literature. For the Chinese ha\e a litera- 
ture, are fond of learning, are laborious students, and are apt 
to learn. In their fifteen year course of study for government 
appointments, they commit everything to memory, and thus 
acquire wonderful memories. When a good scholar hears a 
quotation from any of the classical books, he can tell you in 
what book, chapter, page, and line it is to be found. It is as 
familiar to him as the position of any letter in the alphabet is 
to a well educated boy in America. If we studied the Bible 
and the law in that way, what wonderful theologians and law- 
yers we should be! My theological class repeat from memory 
half a chapter of the Bible every morning. Then, after I have 
explained the advanced lesson, they give me my explanations 
of a succession of review lessons. 

Though the education of a small portion of the people is so 
thorough, their knowledge forms no part of the knowledge 
acquired by a scholar in the West. Is it strange that they 
should be considered "peculiar?" 

Chinese bankers and business men, who are numerous, are 

Yates The Missionary. 229 

Cjuite equal to the same classes in the West. They have been 
not inaptly called by Europeans "the Yankees of the East." 

As farmers, gardeners, mechanics, and boatmen, the Chinese 
are surpassed by no other people. As laborers, they are patient, 
steady, sober, and economical. The Chinese make excellent 
cooks, house servants, and laundrymen. They are also the best 
of shop keepers. 

I do not think, however, that they will make desirable citi- 
zens for the United States. My reasons for this opinion are 
numerous; the most potent is that their inherent instincts to- 
wards vice and immorality, their lew esteem for woman, the 
utter absence in them of a moral sense of honor and truthful- 
ness, the absence of a conscience, except with reference to the 
dead, unfit the Chinese to be citizens of a civilized and Chris- 
tian country. 

Shanghai, July, 1881. 

Mrs. Yates to the Recorder: 

A poor Chinese woman came to me a few days ago holding 
m her hand something wrapped in a bit of paper. Apologizing 
for the smallness of her offering, she begged that 1 would re- 
ceive it to help pay for the new school house that we are build- 
ing. She said: "It is very little, but I want to do something 
toward it; make me happy by accepting this little mite." 

Unwrapping her httle parcel, I found four dollars. Glad to 
see that she had it in her heart to do this, I thanked her warmly, 
but said: "Wc do not need this money for the school house; 
you can find other ways of doing good with it, and you must 
let me give it back to you." But she would not be persuaded, 
and said that, if the money was not needed for the house, she 
would buy a clock for the school. I consented, and now the 
school hours are regulated by her gift. 

Shanghai, July 30, 1881. 

The weather is very warm. When I left church yesterday, 
after preaching, I presented the appearance of a man who had 
just waded a river quite up to his neck. Only the skirts of 
my coat were dry. 

My general health is very good, but I am still troubled by 
my thorn in the flesh. It causes much pain and inconvenience. 

230 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, October 14, 1881. 
Last Sabbath I baptized four. Others who seem to be con- 
verted are waiting for courage to meet the opposition of friends. 

Shanghai, October 25, 1881. 

The Hiang Cheh Baptist Association met with my church 
on October 17th, and remained in session three days. It con- 
sists of thirteen churches. In the matter of contributions, mine 
is the banner church of China. 

Wong is a hberal Christian. When anything is required that 
calls for contributions, he craves the privilege of doing it or 
of having a large share in it. 

Oh, that I could speak to North Carolina again! 


The association referred to above was the first that 
ever convened in China. After it adjourned, the vener- 
able Dr. William Dean wrote: 

The meeting of a Baptist Association in China was more than 
my faith could grasp forty years ago, but, by the wonderful 
grace of God, I have this year been permitted to behold it. 

But, while beholding the grand results of God's grace dur- 
ing the last half century in China, I could not hide from my 
eyes the humiliating spectacle that the million of American 
Baptists, with all their wealth and wisdom and worldly enter- 
prise, have but seven Missions in China, and that four of these 
are left each to the superintendency of one man. Some of these 
have been threatened with the grave during the last summer, 
and the surgeon's knife is again lifted over the noble body of 
Dr. Yates, threatening a risk to his precious life. 

During the period embraced in this chapter, no less 
than seven times had the surgeon's knife been used 
with the hope of relieving the suflferer. It would be 
easy, were it proper to insert the letters whiclt tell of the 
repeated operations, not only to move the sympathies, 
but also to elicit the admiration of all the readers of this 
Story. Fortitude, patience, cheerfulness, trust, shine 
through these letters. A delicate play of humor, also, 
is not lacking. A letter written in November closes. 
"Brother writes that the bottom of his Mission 

Yates The Missionary. 231 

has dropped out. The bottom of the Shanghai Mission 
^ regard at present as sound, but old." The closing 
months of 1881 were darkened by aggravated suffering 
and threatening symptoms. But this darkest period 
was just before the dawn. Relief was at hanc. 


REACHING OUT FARTHER 1882-1884 AGE 63-65. 

HE gradual disappearance of "the thorn in the 
tlesh" enabled Dr. Yates to engage, not with 
more zeal, but with more activity, in widening 
the range of his work. There is much that is 
valuable and interesting in the letters of this chapter. 
but those which refer to operations in Soochow, "in 
morals, the Corinth; in learning, the Oxford; and i^ 
cctmmerce, the London of China," and to the opening 
of the station in Chinkiang are of special historical im- 

Shanghai, Febriiarj'^ zy, 1882. 
Yesterday, for the first time in three months, I preached 
morning and evening, and am none the worse for it to-day. 
On February 2nd I submitted to my eighth and most severe 
surgical operation. Now I am about well. 

Shanghai, February, 1882. 
Airs. Yates to Miss N. : 

The Chinese New Year is at hand, and there is unusual 
bustle in our crowded streets. It is rigidly required that all 
debts shall be paid before dawn of the New Year, and men are 
hurrying to and fro to get money for this purpose, as well as 
to provide new garments and little luxuries for their house- 

Great preparations are going on among the girls in our 
boarding school. They have all been over to wish us "Happ> 

232 Yates The Missionary. 

New Year." I wish you could have seen them: they looked so 
nice and happy. When they went into Mr. Yates' study, he 
gave each one enough five cent pieces to make a set of buttons. 
Formerly it took five, now the fashion has changed and three 
are enough. 

I am taking great satisfaction in this school, because none 
of the money for its support is obtained by begging. 

Mr. Walker is domiciled with us, and is at work on the lan- 
guage. He was not a little surprised at the foreign part of 
Shanghai with its banks, hotels, daily papers, etc. It was far 
different when Mr. Yates and I came here. We have seen the 
streets laid out and the houses built. This great foreign settle- 
ment has grown up around us, little by little, during our so- 
journ of thirty-five years, and it does not seem strange at all 

to us. 

Shanghai, March 7, 1882. 
To the Recorder: 

You will rejoice with me in my great deliverance from a 
most trying affliction which has disabled me for two years. The 
surgical operations have necessitated incisions eight inches in 
length and one and a half inches deep, 

I have no language in which to express my gratitude to God. 
T can only say that I feel good and thankful all over, and am 
ready to take my place at the front again. 

From what I can see of the doings of the churches at home, 
more attention is given to State than to Foreigh Missions. Now, 
while I greatly rejoice in the success of every branch of benefi- 
cent enterprise, I am persuaded from the teachings of Scripture 
that to send the gospel to all nations is the true way to secure 
a deeper and more permanent interest in all other benevolent 

I know what is said about beginning at Jerusalem; but there 
is nothing about remaining there till all the city and regions 
round about were won to Christ. 

Shanghai, April 8, 1882. 
To Mr. J. J. T. Reese: 

Why is it that the whole of Asia, extending from the Pacific 
to the Mediterranean, and embracing more than half of the 
population of the globe, is left so long in moral darkness? It 

Yates The Missionary. 233 

is because the disciples of Christ in former ages have not done 
their duty; they have not obeyed Christ's command, "Go ye 
and disciple all nations." 

Christ did not die for Europeans only. He died for the whole 
world; and a dispensation of the gospel is committed to us 
who have it. All cannot go in person to the heathen, but each 
disciple — even the poorest — can, according to his or her means, 
help to send and support those who can go, and thus have some 
part in converting the world to Christ. 

Shanghai, May 2, 1882. 
To the Recorder: 

I am engaged in field work, translating, preaching, and teach- 
ing a theological class four times a week, besides incidental 
work. I am now told that another operation will be necessary 
to complete my cure. But I deem it best to let well enough 
alone. A small thorn may be needed to prevent us from being 
exalted beyond measure. 

Yesterday, in a final review of my translation of Mark ix., 
I came upon the words, "Everyone shall be salted with fire: 
salt is good, etc.'' Rather a hard text to explain in Chinese to 
an inquisitive Chinaman. 

I am happy in being able to resume my work. Just in the 
proportion that we commit ourselves to Him whose we are, we 
shall be useful and happy. 

Shanghai, May 30, 1882. 

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of baptizing three. We ex- 
pect others. May the little stream become a flowing river that 
shall never run dry. 

As soon as I can procure a suitable place, we shall constitute a 
church in the great city of Soochow. We have eight Christians 
there now. They will do for a stack-pole. 

The field is widening, and the work accumulating on our 
hands. Oh, that the pastors and churches could be aroused! 
Why, sir, they do not contribute enough to pray over. 

I believe that the best possible investment would be to em- 
ploy the right man to labor with pastors, impart information, 
and lead them to see the teaching of Scriptures as to Foreign 

234 Yates The Missionary. 

Before it was ratified in 1868, Dr. Yates made public 
liis objections to tlie Biirlingame treaty between the 
United States and China. Especially did he oppose the 
article which opened the United States to unrestricted 
immigration from China. After a lapse of several years, 
the results predicted by him came to pass, and it became 
evident that some check would have to be put upon the 
settling of Chinese in our country. While this matter 
was under discussion in Congress, Dr. Yates wrote an 
article which was published in the New York Herald, 
and widely copied into other papers. His reasons for 
thinking that the Chinese would not make desirable 
citizens are of more than ephemeral interest. 

Those who are willing to emigrate to the United States are 
of the poorest class. From their previous condition of absolute 
slavery to idolatry, superstition, and an autocratic government, 
they are unfitted for citizenship under a civilized government. 

Moreover, the Chinese who immigrate to the United States 
have not the remotest idea of becoming citizens or of having any- 
thing to do with the government. They have the same motives 
that influence foreigners in coming to China — the hope of speed- 
ily making fortunes and then returning to their native land to 
enjoy them. 

Again, all Chinese who go abroad expect to return before 
they die, in order to be interred in the family graveyard. There 
only can they partake of the benefits of the ancestral offerings 
made by future generations to the family tombs. For the same 
reason, if they die abroad, they expect their friends to return 
their bodies or their ashes to their native land. 

Shanghai, June 26, 1882. 

You ask whether a young medical doctor could be useful in 
China. If he desires to labor as a missionary, his knowledge 
of medicine would be of the greatest advantage to him and to 
the cause. 

I have long since come to the conclusion that i corps of 
consecrated laymen would be of great use to a mission, if the 
right sort of men could be had. But they must be men who 
have the spirit of Christ, good common sense, and sound 

Yates The Missionary. 235 

judgment. They must have such a sense of obligation to and 
love for God and man that they will work for the salvation of 
men even among the most degraded. These are the qualifica- 
tions that will make a working missionary, one who will stick 
to his work under trying circumstances without bemoaning loss 
of places of honor and ease which he might have occupied in 
his native land. 

A full course at college and then at the Seminary is in the 
highest degree desirable, provided that this extended course 
does not induce a spirit of intellectual pride, to the neglect of 
spirituality and consecration. When this is the case, even the 
man who takes the highest position in his class is unfitted to 
be a missionary among the heathen. 

As much as we need men, it will never do to appoint every 
man and woman who applies. From cranks, short horns, and 
men lacking common sense, good Lord deliver us! 

One more word: Whatever may be the exigencies of the 
work, do not send out young men who want to marry till 
they have made such arrangements as will render it unnecessary 
for them to return to the States. A word to the wise is sufift- 

Shanghai, July 24, 1882. 

Brother Walker and I spent Saturday and Sunday at Kwin- 
san. These meetings with the little church in the wilderness 
are refreshing to all parties. 

I then went up to Soochow to inspect a place that my assist- 
ant there deemed desirable for a chapel. We agreed to pur- 
chase it. Before the rebellion, Soochow was the queen city of 
China. It is still a great city, but its glory has departed. 

Rev. W. S. Walker, writing of this visit to Soochow, 
raid: "1 guess, however, that Dr. Yates did not tell you 
that the people took him for a foreign emperor And 
no wonrier, for it took four men to carry his sedan chair, 
'.\hich was a Mandarin's." 

Shanghai, September 25, 1882. 

August was spent at Chefoo with Mrs. Yates, who has been 
ill. Yesterday I baptized three. There are prospects of a 
gracious work all along our line of eighty-five miles, which 

236 Yates The Missionary. 

penetrates a region of many millions of souls. At the ends and 
in the center of this line we have, in all, five places of worship. 
There are other places to be occupied, in accordance with my 
plans. Shall I be permitted to see this done before I lay down 
my armor? 

Shanghai, October 2, 1882. 

Yesterday I baptized a man and hi.'^ wife. The Sunday before 
I baptized three, including the wife of one of my class. The 
other two were young men. 

I have rented, at $8.16 per "moon," a new place of worship 
in a crowded poition of the English Concession, about a mile 
from our mission premises. It is furnished with seats, lamps, 
and pulpit, and with chairs in an enquirers' room. Yes<-erday 
afternoon it was formally opened with appropriate exercises. 
The hall was crowded, and I was agreeably surprised to find 
that the people conducted themselves decently. Here my young 
men and Brother Walker can exercise their gifts without em- 
barrassment. May the divine blessing rest upon this new 
place of worship. 

I have also purchased a place in the great city of Soochow. 
T bought directly, i. e., not in the name of a Chinaman, and for 
a chapel. This I consider quite a triumph, for I had been told 
that it was impossible to buy in the name of a foreigner. But 
I did not propose to have a chapel in any other way than open 
and above board. By careful engineering, I have succeeded. 

In reply to questions asked by the Board some time 
before this, a missionary of long experience had written. 

The tenure by which land is held here is entirely different 
from what it is in America. While the ground is usually held 
in the name of a Chinaman, it is guaranteed by the authorities 
to the foreigner in perpetuity. When the deed is enrolled, the 
authorities bind themselves to protect the claims of the for- 
eigner. In this way titles to real estate are as secure in China 
as in America. And it is better, every way, for a Mission to 
build and own than to rent houses. 

Shanghai, November 21, 1882. 
The Baptist Encyclopedia came in perfect order. It has some 
blemishes on the inside, however. It is not correct history to 

Yates The Missionary. 237 

say that I supported the missions of the Convention in China 
(luring the Civil War in America. I did what I could; but with 
us all it was a case of "root little pig, etc." We all supported 
ourselves as well as we could. 

Shanghai, December, 1882. 

To the Recorder: 

It is a melancholy fact that a large number of missionaries 
irom England and America fail to accomplish the ostensible 
object of their mission. During my term of long service, it has 
been my lot to witness many sad failures. I fera" that the 
latent cause was a mistaken call to the work. 

The divine call, I would say, is a growth and not a sudden 
ebullition of feeling called forth by a stirring appeal. The latter 
is too ephemeral for the stern realities of aggressive missionary 
life. Nor is the call acquired at schools of learning. It is the 
gift of God in answer to the prayer, "What wilt Thou have me 
to do." 

Some come out under a meteoric call. They have entertained 
emotional and romantic views of the work among the heathen, 
and, when they come into contact with the objects of their 
compassion and find the work different from what they ex- 
pected, they soon become disgusted with themselves and their 

Others commence their preparatory work with a good will 
and a firm resolve. But when they penetrate the recesses of 
the language and encounter thousands of mysterious written 
characters, they fall into a slough of despond. Thei-- depression 
of spirits so affects their health, that nothing less than their 
native air is deemed sufficient to restore them. 

Another class do not duly consider that a sound body is an 
important factor, or they choose companions having weak con- 
stitutions. These, at the threshold of a seemingly brilliant 
Cc-.reer of usefulness, are forced to leave in order to i-ave life. 

All these classes, since they accomplish nothing, i call fail- 
ures. From these disagreeable and expensive experiments 
churches and mission boards might learn important lessons. 

Another class of missionaries, good and learned men, sent 
out ostensibly to evangelize the Chinese, have spent their time 

238 Yates The Missionary. 

and energies and vast sums of money, not in preaching the 
gospel, but in educational schemes. But the tree 's known by 
its fruit. The Morrison High School, in Hong Kong, has been 
in operation thirty-five or more years. It has turned out many 
well educated men, some of whom have amassed large fortunes. 
But, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a man ot influ- 
ence from that school who is devoting his life to the spiritual 
good of his countrymen. 

The result of these educational efforts, from a religious point 
of view, have not been comparable to what has been accom- 
plished by those who have devoted their time and talents to 
preaching the law and the gospel. 

Shanghai, December 13, 1882. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

Though the recent operations were performed on a most 
sensitive part of my body, and though I took no anesthetic, I 
felt but little pain. My doctors said that they had seen it stated 
by an American doctor that if a person would breathe as 
rapidly as possible under an operation, he would not feel the 
pain of cutting. They wished to try it on me, and I assented. 
My breathing was like that of a dog on a hot summer day. 
When Dr. Macleod told me, "That will do," I was surprised 
to find that the operation had been performed. I have tried 
i*: three times, and have not felt more pain than is usually in- 
flicted in vaccination. 

What is the philosophy of this kind of anesthetic? Is it simply 
a diversion of the mind? 

I am doing no work just now, but am doing a dc^i of think- 
ing. This, you know, is not good for the machinery. But while 
I cannot do, I can suflfer His will; and is not that also obedience? 
I am trying to learn the lessons of afflictions. My one desire 
is that they may be blessed to me spiritually, and to the good 
of Christ's cause. 

Shanghai, December 19, 1882. 

We shall now open an out-station at Chinkiang, distant about 
one hundred and fifty miles, with Mr. Hunnex in charge. We 
shall begin work in a hired house, and, when the work requires 

Yates The Missionary. 239 

it, we shall ask for funds for a hall in the native style of archi- 

I do not propose to build costly churches in foreign style in 
the interior. The money can be more profitably spent in sup- 
porting missionaries and making them comfortable. That is 
the desirable thing, so as to prolong their usefulness. 

This is not the first intimation that has appeared that 
Dr. Yates believed in adequate salaries and comfortable 
support. It, surely, is very noble for missionaries to be 
willing to accept salaries which would only provide the 
barest necessities of life, and w^hich would allow no pro- 
vision to be made for a rainy day which may come to 
them as to others. But whether it w^ould be noble in the 
churches to allow them to do so is another question. 
Would it be the highest wdsdom on the part o^ either 
ihe missionaries or the churches? Was noi Di. Yates 
right in his views on this subject? 

While a student at Wake Forest, Mr. D. W. Herring 
consecrated himself to mission w^ork in China, and, seek- 
mg counsel, opened correspondence with Dr. Yates. 
The following letter, written near the close of 1882, has 
i^een greatly abridged: 

Some who are interested in the foreign mission work may 
press you to cut short your course of study and go at once. 
Give these entreaties no heed. Answer them that the Lord 
has called you to a great work which requires thorough prepa- 

Having given yourself to the Lord for his service in this 
glorious work, it devolves upon you to look well to your men- 
tal, moral, and physical outfit. And, first, neglect not the gift 
that is in you — the call to be an apostle to the heathen. Strive 
to intensify and deepen it. Have your hour for devotion when 
there is no one present but you and Him whom you serve. 
Make an efifort to become very intimately acquainted with Him. 
He will draw very near to those who draw near to Him. Imbibe 
His spirit of earnest solicitude for the salvation of men of all 
nations. See if you cannot make a more complete surrender 
of yourself, soul, mind, and body, to God and to the guidance 

240 Yates The Missionary. 

of his Spirit. Read his word specially to know what His will is, 
and what he requires of His servants. 

Secondly, your outfit will be incomplete unless your mind is 
thoroughly equipped with a complete store of knowledge. Do 
not for a moment entertain the idea of some that, with a good 
library, you can read up on theology. Nothing could be more 
misleading. From the time you arrive in China and commence 
the study of the Chinese language, you will have no time for 
the study of theology. A new religious book is something to 
which I have been a stranger for thirty-six years. Do not 
waste time in reading about China nor take a course of study 
v/ith reference to your becoming a missionary. Take the course 
which will enable you to become a thorough biblical scholar. 
Avoid mental and spiritual laziness as you would the plague. 
You may begin your missionary course before you reach a 
heathen shore. Avoid dignified airs, and strive to be a perfect 
gentleman. The personal influence of a missionary, his appear- 
ance, manner, and spirit, go a long way with a heathen people 
toward recommending the gospel which he teaches. The quali- 
ties and attainments which would fit you for any position in 
the ministry at home will fit you to be a successful missionary 
in China. 

Lastly, your health. The first qualification of a foreign mis- 
sionary is to be a good animal. You may be furnished with a 
first class instrument, but without physical strength to wield 
ii, it would be of little service to you. Therefore guard your 
health with sedulous care as to the Lord. Live well and take 
regular exercise. Play lawn tennis, notwithstanding what the 
drones may say about such sports for a candidate for the foreign 
mission field. 

We are not bound to observe the austerity of life that a 
superstitious public is too ready to prescribe. The Scriptures 
prescribe no such austerity. Exercise in the open air is nec- 
essary to secure health of body and mind, and to preserve 
youthful spirits. From the time I entered college until I grad- 
uated, I was in the habit of running two miles every morning 
at four o'clock. Even now, I walk my two miles a day. I am 
in splendid health, for which I am profoundly thankful. 

Yates The Missionary. 241 

Herein is not only sound counsel to a prospective mis 
.-ionary — or for any other man, for that matter, but a 
revealing of the healthful tone of mind of the writer. 
Here is no recluse, stunted and shriveled ':;> ignorance 
and false devotion. To this big-hearted, wide-minded, 
well-rounded man consecration and zeal did not neces 
sitate austerity of life. 

Dr. R. H. Graves, of Canton, who knew him inti- 
mately, wrote a few months ago: 

There was nothing of the ascetic about Dr. Yates. He lived 
on generous diet, kept a hospitable board, and surrounded his 
home with many comforts, but there was nothing of display 
or extravagance. His motto, stamped on some of his letters, 
was "Esse quam Videri," and he carried it out in his life with 
all the force of a generous, robust nature. 

While at Wake Forest College, Dr. Yates adopted^ as 
his own this motto of the Philomathesian Society, which 
has recently been adopted as the motto of the State of 
Xorth Carolina, Esse quam videri — "Fd rather be than 
seem to be." It suited him, and he lived up to it. No 
man ever knew him without being impressed with his 
eenuineness and wholeheartedness. 

Shanghai, January 8, 1883. 

I shall think twice before I attempt the difficult task of trans- 
lating the book of Revelation; for one must know or decide 
what a passage means before it can be put into Chinese. I 
think, however, if I am spared to get so near the end, I shall 
try it and look for wisdom from above. 

My health is very good. I am able to work fourteen hours 
a day, to sleep well, and eat well. I weigh 240 pounds. I am 
very thankful for my mercies and privileges; for it is a great 
privilege to do the work that I am attempting to do for the 
good of millions yet unborn. 

Referring to Dr. Yates' New Testament in the Shang 
hai dialect, Rev, R. T. Bryan, of Shanghai, says: 

242 Yates The Missionary. 

Dr. Yates' practical turn of mind led him, when translating 
the New Testament, to give the meaning of the text rather than 
a mere transfer of the words. His idea seemed to be to give 
the Chinese something that they could understand. For ex- 
ample, instead of saying ''No place to lay his head," his ver- 
sion says, in accordance with Chinese idiom, "No body-resting- 
place." He knew the habits of thought of the Cliinese mind 
as few men knew them. 

Shanghai, February, 1883. 
To Rev. T. H. Pritchard. D.D.: 

As to-day is Chinese New Year, when all, from the Emperor 
down, claim a holiday, and while hundreds of thousands, dressed 
in their best, are walking the streets, cracking watermelon, 
pumpkin, sunflower, and other seeds, I will take my recreation 
in writing to my very dear friend. 

I have just revised and put to press an edition of Mark and 
Luke in the vernacular. The four gospels. Acts, and Romans 
are now in the hands of the people. I use Alford's Greek text. 
It is surprising to find that many translators into English, as 
well as into Chinese, have allowed their theological views to 
influence and mar their translations. Oh, how I should like 
to have a few hours talk with Broadus, Boyce, and others. 
You can see how important it is that a candidate for the China 
missions should be thoroughly furnished. 

An hour and a half is spent each forenoon with my class of 
three young student assistants. They commit everything to 
memory. This has been hard on them and on me too, but it 
has made new men and good preachers of them. For, if a man 
has nothing to say, he can say nothing worth hearing. I have 
done good work with these men; the result will go on down the 
ages, long after I am laid aside. 

Homiletics has not claimed much of my attention. The 
Chinese do not understand, but are bewildered and frightened 
by any attempt at oratory. In 1868, just before my voice gave 
way, I was preaching on the second coming of Christ, and had 
more than my usual "liberty." I perceived that my congre- 
gation were in an anxious state of mind. Why, I could not 
tell. Some, who were not members of the church, bolted out 

Yates The Missionary. 243 

of the house, declaring that I made the Httle dog within them 
bite. Many church members were standing up and wringing 
their hands. At this juncture, an old sister walked up to my 
pulpit and, putting her hands over my Bible, exclaimed: "Stop, 
he is coming, and we are all frightened to death!" I saw what 
was the matter, and turned their thoughts to the joys of those 
who should be ready at His coming. The old sister returned 
to her seat saying: "That is the kind I like." 

From the time of Abraham until now, the Chinese have not 
been accustomed to public speaking. Their speakers sit down 
and talk like a judge on the bench, and make gestures with 
their fans. I have learned to use one too. So, if I am ever 
permitted to enter your pulpit in warm weather, you must allow 
me to take my fan and use it too; and no one is to be permitted 
to smile. And if I should inadvertently break info speaking 
Chinese, you must pull my coat tail, or your people would 
laugh at me. 

You will see* from the rough chart which I send you that I 
am projecting and laying out work for several generations of 
missionaries. Hitherto we have cultivated, say, a hundred 
acres only. My programme encloses ten thousand acres. When 
I stood on the top of the hill in Kwinsan, a few days ago, I 
thought of the Saviour weeping over Jerusalem and shuddered 
as I contemplated the jungle of humanity, the fifty millions 
in this plain of the Yang-tsz, who care no more for Ya-soo 
(Jesus) than the Jews did for Him who wept over them. 

A weighty responsibility rests upon you pastors at home. 
All around the globe the great want to-day is men, live men, 
whose aim is to live for God and humanity. 

Those men who devote much thought to their attire, their 
comforts, their social position, and the impression they are 
making are consecrated to themselves. Few are ready to ex- 
ercise the grace of working and giving and sufTering. Many 
avoid the posts of greatest need, and seek positions of personal 
ease and comfort. The position desired by every truly conse- 
crated heart is where service is most needed in the kingdom 
of Christ. 

244 Yates The Missionary. 

Dr. Yates' humorous suggestion that he migl;{, from 
torce of habit, begin to preacl: in Chinese from Dr. 
Pritchard's pulpit in Louisville, recalls a pp.ragraph in 
a letter from Miss Fielde to The Chinese Recorder in 
November, 1888. 

So completely had Dr. Yates made the Chinese language his 
own, that he habitually thought in it. When visiting his native 
land he found that he had, in public speaking, to translate his 
thoughts from Chinese into English. It several times happened 
that, after he became absorbed in his subject, he forgot to trans- 
late until the visible astonishment of his hearers brought him 
to a consciousness that he was speaking Chinese to an Ameri- 
can audience. 

Shanghai, February 28, 1883. 
To his Sister: 

At the beginning of summer I shall take Mrs. Yates to Che- 
foo, five hundred miles north of Shanghai, where it is cooler 
and considered much more healthy in summer. A summer rest 
will do both of us much good. I have had too much work on 
hand for a long time. I would like to see you all once more; 
but I could have no rest if I were to go home for a season. 
I cannot well leave my work while I have health and strength 
to attend to it. Perhaps it may come round right for us all 
to go sometime; if so, we may meet again on earth. We are 
all homeward bound. 

My weight is two hundred and thirty-seven pounds. In a 
few years my hair will be white, or nearly so; but my mustache 
and eyebrows are as black as ever. 

Shanghai, June 19, 1883. 

On Sunday, June loth, the Baptist church in Soochow was 
formally dedicated to the worship of the true God. I do not 
say "with appropriate services," for the opening hymn was 
unique, as an unharmonious medley. Imagine, if you can, 
twelve Chinese Christians, men and women, singing the same 
familiar hymn to the extent of their different voices, each one 
carrying his own tune, and a lone missionary with stentorian 
voice, trying in vain to lead them into line in the goud old tune 
usually sung thirty-six years ago in North Carolina to "Jesus 

Yates The Missionary. 245 

bids me watch and pray." It was a medley that never was at- 
tempted before. It would have made Mozart mad. Doubt- 
less they sang with melody in their hearts, and the Lord ac- 
cepted this one effort, but, believing that He would take the 
will for the deed, I declined a second hymn. 

It was a rainy day, but the house and yard were crowded 
with people. They doubtless thought that the music was charm- 
ing. After some delay, the people were induced to sit down. 
Then I commenced to talk to them, and succeeded in securing 
pretty fair order, considering that it was a green audience that 
knew nothing about church decorum. Pastor See, of Kwinsan, 
followed me, and, on the whole, the dedication seivice was a 

great success. 

Shanghai, June 26, 1883. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

After being on the wing for more than forty days, I am at 
home again, well, and as brown as an Indian. I spent several 
weeks at Chefoo, trying to prepare a place in the shape of a 
cottage at that healthy locality by the sea. Mrs. Yates can now 
spend the summer in a more bracing atmosphere; and, as I 
have had more than a decade of hard labor without vacation, 
and, during the last two years, much sufifering, I propose to 
rest with her this summer. 

From this tin\e until his death. Dr. Yates spent ar 
least a month during the summer at his cottage by the 
sea at Chefoo. There can be little question that his life 
was prolonged and his usefulness enhanced by these 
brief vacations. The following letter is from Mro Yates: 

Chefoo, August 2^, 1883. 

We are very comfortably established in our Chefoo bungalow, 

which, standing on a cliff, gives us an extensive and very charm- 

nig sea view. A winding stair leads down to our bath house. 

Comforts are easily procured, and, as American children say, 

we are having a good time. 

Shanghai, October 9, 1883. 

Mrs. Yates has returned from Chefoo much improved in 

health. I feel repaid for the trouble and expense of building 

the bungalow. 

246 Yates The Missionary. 

The general excitement among the people about the attitude 
of the French m Anam has had a bad influence on the church 
and on enquirers. 

Shanghai, October, 1883. 
To the Recorder: 

In China we have to contend with more of the wiliness of the 
old serpent than was to be found among the negroes of the 
South when I knew them many years ago. Lying is a national 
characteristic. It doubtless is with all heathen nations. Being, 
from their previous condition, destitute of the basis of a correct 
moral sense, it is not strange that we should find a tendency 
even among church members to depart from the sirict truth. 
They are from among a people with whom lying is a science. 
Successful lying in business transactions is considered com- 
mendable. It is a part of their education, and, consequently, 
of their nature, to lie and deceive. It is not reasonable to expect 
that the Chmese, surrounded as they are, by a flood tide of 
heathenism, will at once, on the presentation of the truth, be- 
come absolutely truthful, honest, and chaste. 

We Baptist missionaries adhere mainly, and not without suc- 
cess, to the method of preaching to adults repentance towards 
God and faith in Christ and a holy life as the only way of salva- 
tion. This is not a popular method, for the Chinese do not like 
to be told that they are sinners before God; but it is one in 
which we are not likely to be so egregiously imposed upon by 
knaves and hypocrites. These are the moral lepers of some of 
the churches in China. 

We are not opposed to schools; on the contrary, we think, 
and practice what we think, that every mission should have a 
school for the children of native Christians. 

Neither are we opposed to scientific and classical schools in 
themselves. If the Chinese wash to learn English and the 
sciences, let them employ laymen to teach them. But we are 
opposed toto coelo to the idea that the ambassadors for Christ 
to a great Empire should devote their time and energies to 
teaching English and the sciences for secular use, and then 
call it mission work. 

Yates The Missionary. 247 

Dr. Yates' method of dealing with the ''knaves and 
hypocrites" mentioned in the foregoing letter, is illus 
trated by an incident related by Dr. Lambuth, late of 

A man came to Dr. Yates for help, and, in order to obtain it. 
pretended to be a Christian. Dr. Yates suspected his motives 
from the beginning, and at length said to him: "If you are a 
Christian you will know how to kneel down and pray, so let 
us pray." The man was quite nonplussed, as he had never seen 
a Christian kneel in prayer. Putting on a bold face, however, 
he turned around, placed his knees upon his chair and rested 
his chin upon the back. This seemed to be the only position 
he could think of, but, alas, in his flurry he and the chair both 
turned over. Whereupon Dr. Yates, who had watched the per- 
formance closely, placed his hand upon his shoulder and said: 
"Get down on your knees on the floor, and I will teach you how 
to pray." Chagrined and humiliated, the man was forced to 
lepeat each petition after him. It is useless to say the doctor 
made him acknowledge before the Lord that he was an im- 
poster and a sinner, and had come there to deceive the very 
elect, and for all these sins he now humbly implored God's 

Shanghai, November 13, 1883. 
In October I attended our Baptist Association at Ningpo, 
but was recalled during the meeting by the serious illness of 
Mrs. Yates. After some days she was well enough to admit 
of my going to Soochow. There, on November nth, we con- 
stituted a Baptist church. This is the second colony that the 
mother church at Shanghai has sent out. May the Head of the 
church make this a fruitful vine. 

Shanghai, January 7, 1884. 
To Prof. W. L. Poteat: 

The thought of writing to one at my Alma Mater revives 

memories and excites emotions of an endearing kind, tinged 

with a shade of sadness. Wait, Brooks, Wingate, and others 

have gone to their reward. But I love Wake Forest still. I 

still know Rev. James Purefoy, whose father, when I was yet 

a boy, was the first minister to speak to me about my soul's 

248 Yates The Missionary. 

salvation. The sainted Mrs. James Purefoy and her sister, 
Mrs. Brooks, were kind to me. Again and again they ministered 
to my necessities. Such are the persons who, though they die, 
continue to hve on in the good deeds done unto the Lord in 
the persons of his httle ones. 

Since I offered myself a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus to 
v.'ork, and, if necessary, to die, in this land of moral darkness. 
I have toiled against wind and tide, but in hope. For a number 
of years we were nominally restricted to the Treaty Ports. But 
missionaries gradually worked their way beyond the prescribed 
boundary; to-day they can preach the gospel in any part of this 
great Empire except the province of Honan. This grand re- 
sult has been effected, not by the authority of the great treaty 
powers, but by the energy and pluck of missionaries who were 
able to speak the language and enlighten the suspicious people 
as to their object in coming to China. 

Have we made an impression upon, and had any success 
among these people? Yes, we have had much success when we 
consider how few the laborers have been. The great obstacles 
in the way of workers have, except the language, all been re- 
moved. And now, by the preparation of suitable books, that 
gulf has been bridged, and the passage is comparatively easy. 
We have three chapels here and a church of eighty-two mem- 
bers. We have chapels and organized churches in Kwinsan 
and Soochow, and a rented chapel at Chinkiang. From your 
standpoint, you may not be able to perceive the extent and value 
of what we have accomplished. It is, nevertheless, real prog- 
ress and grand in its prospects and possibilities. 

Shanghai, February 2, 1884. 
To Rev. A. E. Dickinson, D.D.: 

Would that you could drop in for a few days and take a 
trip with me. I would show you the three salient angles of our 
circuit, the centers about which turn the business of thirty mil- 
lion heathen, not semi-Christians, such as are found in Mexico 
and South America, but real heathen, men and women who 
are almost as blind and emotionless as the gilded gods of wood 
and clay which they worship. And this worship is with the 

Yates The Missionary. 249 

hope, not of being paidoned and saved, but of being prospered 
in business and blessed with long life. 

You would see such a wave of humanity pass in review before 
your eyes as they never before witnessed. And I would tell 
you that every man and woman in all this great and motley 
pageant is without God and without hope. You would see 
where and how we have, through so many years, held the fort 
alone for the Southern churches. You would see the two 
advanced and strategic positions that we have taken in the very 
heart of the enemy's country. You would then realize, as you 
could in no other way, the crying necessity for three new men, 
thoroughly equipped, to hold these stations and to advance 
against the stolid indifference that confronts us. 

Such an excursion would be an inspiration which would 
enable you to thrill the Convention in Baltimore next May. 

Shanghai, March i, 1884. 

The doctor says that a visit to America is nfecessary for Mrs. 
Yates' health. For this I can make any sacrifice. She refuses 
to travel on the money of the churches, and her "rip will be 
without expense to the Board. I shall try to manage it out 
of my salary. I had thought that in 1885 I would cake her to 
the United States for a good rest. But now that I am alone 
at this mission, this will be impossible till Herring and Bryan 
get through with their studies and come out and become some- 
what familiar with the language. 

I shall be left entirely alone for a year. Cannot , who 

is about to complete his course at the Seminary, be prevailed 
upon to come to me? This is a call from one of the Lord's 
little ones. May he have, also, a call from the Mastei. 

We are now the oldest foreign residents in this part of China. 

Shanghai, March 18, 1884. 
I find that as one grows in years in trying to save souls, work 
seems to accumulate. But by and by we shall have a long time 
to rest. 

My wife and daughter make their contribution for missions 
by supporting a boarding school for girls after their own plan. 
Binding of the feet is not allowed. They will not lend their 
aid to maiming children for life. 

250 Yates The Missionary. 

Last Sabbath it was my great privilege to baptize the three 
eldest of the school girls, aged 18, 17, and 15. Oh, it was a 
real pleasure to me to perform that baptismal service! There 
was joy in the city on that day, and when, after baptism, I 
gave them the right hand of fellowship, and invited the female 
members to do likewise, there was a rush to grasp the hands 
of the young sisters; and, as they did so, they nearly all laughed 
audibly. This is a way of theirs; when they feel happy, Chinese 
Christians do not shout, but laugh. There was joy in heaven 

Shanghai, March 31, 1884. 

I had secretly promised myself that when Brother Walker 
should be well in harness, I would take Mrs. Yates away for 
a good rest and change of climate. But Mr. Walker's break- 
down and return has frustrated all this plan. She has stood by 
me in this foreign work for more than thirty-seven years. Now 
she has been out of health for a year. In order to give her the 
change which the doctor says she needs, and to avoid leaving 
the Shanghai mission without anyone in charge, we must sub- 
mit to separation for a year or more. With our daughter and 
son-in-law, she sailed for New York March 27th. They will 
probably spend the summer at Asheville, N. C, wheie we hope 
that quiet rest and pure bracing air will recuperate her strength. 

It remains to be seen whether or not I can bear the strain 
of my position. A year of constant work and the loneliness at 
meals and of evenings will be a terrible draft upon me. for I 
am no longer young, and am not made of steel 

For labor among the millions of stark heathen in this hard 
field, send us men of large faith and unwavering moral courage, 
men who will seize this Chinese bull by the horns and hold on 
till the animal is tamed. It is the language that constitutes 
the horns. 

If I could see the stations at this Mission reinforced and 
equipped as I have urged, I could use the language of good old 
Simeon. Oh, my dear brother, I am being killed ofT here, not 
so much by the work I am doing as by what I want to do and 
cannot do for lack of prompt and liberal suppoit by the 
churches at home. May God help the poor heathen. 

Yates The Missionary. 251 

Shanghai, April, 1884. 
The trees and shrubs sent by Mr. S. O. Wilson have reached 
me in good condition. The scuppernong grape vines and 
blackberry bushes have been planted in my garden. I hope 
that in future years they will prove a blessing to millions in 
this part of China. 

At the Northern Baptist Anniversaries in May, 1884, 
President J. B. Angell, of the University of Michigan, 
who, after serving as a treaty commissioner, had re- 
turned from China to this country, said: "Di. Yates, 
more than any other man in China, has shown what tlv: 
gospel can do for the Chinese." 

The impression made by Dr. Yates' searching ap- 
peals upon a young student who was present a; a mass 
meeting in Richmond in 1859, ^^^^ already been men- 
tioned. After many years of usefulness in the ministry, 
he wrote to the veteran missionary, telling him of his 
experience and thanking him for the thrilling w^ords 
which had brought him into the ministry. Here is a 
portion of the reply: 

Shanghai, May 8, 1884. 
To Rev. Chas. H. Ryland, D.D.: 

My dear son in the ministry: I had finished my day's work 
in translating the Epistle to the Ephesians, and, being all alone 
(my family being on their way to the United States), I was 
seated in my easy chair, meditating on the goodness and mercy 
of God in preserving me and mine so long in this hard field, 
and wondering how much good I had accomplished, here 
and at home, when your letter was handed to me. I read it 
with deep emotion and with sincere gratitude to God for en- 
abling me to know that I had been made the instrument of 
leading one man to take up his cross and follow Jesus. 

I am so glad you wrote me about it. My heart rejoices in 
God. It is an inspiration, a strong incentive to work on and 
sow beside all waters. Oh, it is such a joy to live and work 
for Christ! And it is a blessed thing to seek the guidance of 
the Spirit and to follow Him in all things, even when one toils 
all alone where no one can know and appreciate his work. 

252 Yates The Missionary. 

Even that would be a great support to a lone watchman on 
the borders of this far ofif land. But the Lord knows it all, 
and he has promised to be with me always. 

The Convention is now in session in Baltimore. I'll stop 
writing and telegraph them to sing, "From Greenland's Icy 
Mountains." That will remind them that I am among the 
living, and that I want men and the means with which to equip 
them. This is the nearest that I can come to being present and 
grasping the whole Convention by the hand. 

Well, I have spent $19.56, and that stirring tune is speeding 
its way around the world. And may the Lord grant a blessing 
upon this expenditure out of my own pocket. May it prove 
to be an inspiration to some one. Oh, that I could have trans- 
ported myself thither for two days. 

And now, my dear brother, I love you more than you can 
know. Having no son in the flesh, I shall ever love you as 
my son in the gospel. 

May 9. — Received answer to my telegram: "The joyful sound 
proclaim." The song was heard in Shanghai. 

It is interesting to recall in this connection that on 
the same day that the old music teacher was .=inginir 
the missionary hymn in Shanghai, the Convention con- 
tributed $2,500 for the Chinkiang Chapel, and adopte.i 
the following resolution, which had been presented by 
Pev. W. E. Hatcher, D.D.: 

Resolved, that we tender to Dr. Yates, our oldest missionary, 
our tenderest sympathies in his present affliction, and that we 
authorize him to go forward in the work of building his long- 
needed chapel. 

Shanghai, May 20, 1884. 

I am happy to say that I have secured for the Mission a most 
desirable piece of property in Chinkiang. When it Is equipped, 
it will be vmique, and will be the most commanding and de- 
sirable situation in the city for mission work. 1 cannot but 
think that we have been guided by the great Head of the church. 

Shanghai, Mav 31, 1884. 
On May i8th Brother W. J. Hunnex was ordained by a 
presbytery consisting of myself, as chairman, and Rev. Wong 

Yates The Missionary. 253 

Ping San, .clerk. The services— sermon, charge, prayer, and 
benediction, were ?11 in Chinese. I am well but, oh, so tired. 

Mr. Kimnex had become dissatisfied with the open 
communion views of the English Baptists with whon. 
he had been connected. Having been accepted by thj 
Southern Board, he had been stationed at Chinkiang, 
in Januarv, 18S3. As a lay preacher in the employ of 
the Inland' Mission he had already labored in that city. 

Chefoo, July 24, 1884. 

To Mr. Freeman: 

The true, safe, and economical way to convey money to me 
and to other missionaries is through the treasury of the Board. 
Why should your Sunday school have any scruples about doing 
this? You are willing to entrust your money to me, whom you 
know not; why not entrust it to the great and good men who 
compose the Board? They have been appointed by the Bap- 
tists of the whole South to attend to this particular business. 
They are deeply interested in the same foreign mission work 
that you and I are. In unity there is strength. 

You want to know if I own any land in China. Yes, I own 
a litde less than two acres. During the Civil War in America, 
I invested in land, as above stated, leased it for a term of years, 
and employed a Chinaman to look after it and collect the rent. 
I am happy to say that my investment has increased in value, 
and that I have an income from it sufficient to pay the expenses 
of myself and wife whenever it is deemed necessary to travel 
for health, and also to supplement my salary so as to enable 
us to live comfortably. A missionary's salary is specified to be 
a comfortable support. And, to a conscientious man, an eco- 
nomical support is not sufficient to keep him in good condition 
for work in Shanghai. 

A man. as an animal, is in some respects like a horse. If 
you attempt to keep your mountain team on four nubbins and 
one bundle of fodder at a meal, you will soon see the effects 
on their working capacity. So it is with a man, and especially 
with a m.issionary. He must have a strong body that he may 
have a strong mind and powers of endurance in the midst of 

254 Yates The Missionary. 

privations and disappointments. I am happy to say that, sir»ce 
I have been able to add to my allowance, I have had rest of 
mind, vigorous health, and have been able to do good work. 
I thank God for my little acres. 

Present my best love and benediction to your Sunday school. 
May they all, early in life, give their hearts to the Lord Jesus 
and experience his saving powder. Tell each one to go into the 
woods and, by the side of a big tree, pray: "God be merciful 
to me a sinner." That is where I commenced. 

It was during- this year that Dr. Yates strongly urge 1 
Japan as a mission field upon the attention of Southern 
Baptists. He also presented for the Board's acceptance 
for that field the name of a missionary wlio liad been 
baptized by him into the fellowship of his church. 

The first missionaries ever sent out from the Unitea 
States to Japan had gone under the patronage of th^ 
Richmond Board. They had been lost at sea. To :?■ 
man of his vigorous common sense and strong f^ith this 
afforded no reason why others should not be sent. To 
the end of his life he manifested peculiar interest in 
Japan as an inviting field for Southern Baptists 


A DANGER SIGNAL 1 884- 1 88/ AGE 65-68. 

HE "thorn in the flesh," bringing bodil} suffer- 
ing and mental anxiety, is again sent to buffet 
the lone toiler. But that is not the worst 
Prolonged overwork begins to teH on a con • 
stitution which, humanly speaking, might have endured 
more moderate drafts upon its powers for twentv years 
longer. The first note of warning is now sounded. He 
bears; he knows what it means; but he cannot, will not 
drop his beloved work, save for l)rief intervals of rest a: 
Chefoo. Piteous are the appeals for reinforcement. Yet 

Yates The Missionary. 255 

dear and strong through it all rises a strain of cheerfui 
hope and trust. 

Chefoo, August 29, 1884. 

I have been on a visit to the Tungchow Mission. It was 
very refreshing to have so many of my own faith and order 
with whom I could confer about our general work and hold 
sweet social converse. 

The war with France has turned the hearts of the people 
against all foreigners. The Chinese are very angry, for they 
believe the French to be to blame. We cannot expect to do 
mort; than hold our own during the war excitement. 

Chefoo, August 29, 1884. 
To the Recorder: 

Early in July I went in a shentsz (mule-litter) to visit our 
missionaries at Tungchow. This vehicle might be photo- 
graphed, but is not easily described. It consists of two shafts, 
eighteen feet long, joined together at the ends by a sort of 
frame made so as to fit on a pack-saddle. These shafis are about 
live inches in diameter, and are not at all springy. And there 
are no wheels to the thing. In the center is a matted frame- 
work which extends about three feet above and eighteen inches 
below the shafts. Within this, to soften the traveller s seat, are 
placed millet stalks. Over these is placed his bedding. 

Now the word is given "Sang shentsz" (all aboard). This 
deponent crawled in (the front is always open), and turned 
over to take a sitting position, with very long legs extended, 
?nd feet resting against a cross bar that held the shafts 
together. Four strong men raised the rear end of the shafts 
and the mule walked under until the frame fitted into the pack 
saddle on its back. The same operation was repeated in front, 
for it takes two mules to carry one man. The tail of one mule 
was at my feet, and the head of the other at my back. Imagine, 
if you can, how this long stifif thing turns a short corner, where 
the streets are ten feet wide. 

The motion, when the road allows the mules to keep step 
together, could be endured for a while; but, as the roads are 
often gullies, filled with loose stones, it is impossible for the 
patient animals to walk together. The result is a fore and aft 

256 Yates The Missionary. 

motion and then a hard up and down motion. I am sure that 
a can of milk sent in a shentsz from Chefoo would have all its 
butter on the surface when it reached Tungchow. 

The trip of a day and a half going, and the same coming 
back, made me ill for a month. I am twenty-four pounds short 
of my usual weight. 

Chefoo, September 15, 1884. 

In visiting the Tungchow mission in July, I rode over the 
mountain roads in a mule litter. This method of conveyance 
is considered in that region to be the most respectable and com- 
fortable way of traveling. The motions of a shentsz are three, 
the sieve motion, the pepper-box motion, and the bottle-wash- 
ing motion. Either of these for a day and a half is enough to 
wreck a man of my weight and constitution. It was about as 
excruciating as riding on a rail. No more shentsz rides for me. 

If Mrs. Yates gets worse, I shall have to go to her at the ex- 
pense of the Board. My little store cannot stand all the strain 
I would willingly put upon it. 

By the last mail I answered the communication of a com- 
mittee in regard to accepting the Presidency of Wake Forest 
College. I could not come down from the position of an Am- 
bassador for Christ to an Empire, to become President of the 
College or to accept any other position in the gift of the people 
of the United States. 

Missionary work everywhere in China is paralj'zed by the 
war. Native Christians have been sorely and wantonly perse- 
cuted. I shall not build the chapel at Chinkiang till peace and 
order are restored. 

Shanghai, October 27, 1884. 

I am sorry to say that I am again in the hands of the surgeon. 
A week ago I was operated on for the ninth time. That ride 
in July bruised the cicatrices of my old trouble and caused 
serious inflammation. There may be need for another, and, 
for a man of my age, a more serious operation. But we will 
take no thought for the morrow; Christ is our leader 

There ought to be ten men for this Mission. Kwinsan, Soo- 
chow, and Chinkiang should be independent stations as soon 
as there are men who can take charge. 

Yates The Missionary. 257 

I am so anxious to see these fields occupied before I lay- 
aside my armor, that nothing but my own impecuniosity pre- 
vents me from going to the United States to seek men for my 
field in which I have labored alone for twenty years. 

But, since I cannot do that, I must wait. But to me, in my 
affliction, it seems a great pity that the work I have labored so 
hard to set in motion should come to a dead stand-still for the 
lack of men to keep it going. 

Shanghai, November 19, 1884. 

I am determined to stand for a converted membership that 
will advocate the cause of Christ without being paid for it out 
of a Mission treasury. This position is God's truth; it must 
and will prevail. Self-support — natives to support native 
preachers, and foreign churches to support foreign mission- 
aries — is, in my judgment, the point to be aimed at by mission- 
aries and boards. History shows that the hope that the next 
generation of Chinese Christians will be more spiritual is vain. 
There is no power in evil to improve itself. The tendency 
is to degeneration. Those Chinese who adopt the new religion 
for its commercial value will sport a ritual as they do their 
classics. But a ritual is not a passport into the joy of the Lord. 
For. unless the soul be divinely quickened, the observances of 
the grandest ritualism are as worthless in the sight of God as 
n galvanized corpse. 

Shanghai, December 3, 1884. 

Two doctors called on Friday to see what ought to be done. 
When they decide, then I shall decide — not to submit to a 
tenth operation unless absolutely necessary. In order to have 
my family at home before I submit to the surgeon, I can sub- 
mit to a good deal of suffering. As I am, I can preach at home 
and translate. 

I want the Board to remember the first mission they estab- 
lished in China. Men and means for Soochow, Chiiikiang, and 
Shanghai are absolutely necessary. The work at all these 
stations is flat for lack of men. I have done what I could 
alone to locate and extend the work, and, to some extent, sup- 
ply it with preaching— God is witness. But that must stop now 
till I am rid of my thorn in the flesh. 

258 Yates The Missionary. 

In December, 1884, Dr. Yates published in a South 
trn paper an article entitled, "A Growing Evil," in whicn 
were these paragraphs: 

It has become quite a common thing for associations, mis- 
sionary societies, etc., to desire special work abroad. Some 
want to support a native pastor, some an assistant, and others 
a Bible wonian. Some want to know if they can send funds 
directly to me without their going through the Foreign Mis- 
sion Board, and how. 

Now the effect of each and all of these schemes upon the 
individuals who receive appointments, and upon the spiritual 
growth and best interests of the work abroad is evil and only 

A calm consideration of the best interests of the work at 
home and abroad, and loyalty to my Lord and Master, will 
not allow me to advocate any scheme, however encouraging 
it may appear, which has an evil tendency. Hence I have ad- 
vised against special work being undertaken by societies and 
associations independently of the Foreign Mission Board. It 
savors of a degree of opposition to or want of confidence in 
the Board. 

Shanghai, January 17, 1885. 

I am about to leave for Chinkiang to see about commencing 
the work of building the chapel there. It is urgent. I do not 
propose to wait on the French any longer. 

Shanghai, February ii, 1885. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

If I had some one to take charge, I should cable Mrs. Yates 
to remain another year and I would join her in Am'rica. But 
I am alone, and would sooner take the consequenc-'S of hold- 
mg on than forsake my life work. 

I suppose that she has been in Raleigh. I long for the day 
when she will come back to me. She needs me and I need her. 
The Lord grant her strength to come home. 

The Lora will provide for my inability to go as usual to 
Soochow and Kwinsan, a trip which requires ten days. I 
cannot with impunity be away from my doctors more than 
three days at a time. 

• Yates The Missionary. 259 

Although Mrs. Yates had been seriously ill in North 
Carolina during the summer of 1884, she had cntireh' 
recovered during the autumn. She will never be for- 
gotten in any of the homes that were brightened in 
J 884-5 by her genial presence. On April 4th i88> 
she sailed for her home in China 

Shanghai, March 25, 1885. 
To the Recorder: 

Did you ever sit down and try to think out what must be 
ihe condition of a heathen's mind? If so, you have utterly 
failed. We who were reared in the warmth and light of the 
gospel have had our minds so imperceptibly influenced by the 
knowledge of God that we can have no conception of what 
we should have been without it. To approximate the idea of the 
condition of the minds and moral character of the heathen, you 
must, by a retrospective movement, obliterate all the knowl- 
edge you have ever received of the Bible, of God, or purity of 
life, of punishment of the wicked. You must imagine what 
you would have been as the result of the corrupt example of 
all your ancestors for thousands of years. 

To get a more intelligible conception, take first the highest 
grade of Christian men and women; then several 
grades to the professing Christians who are not troubled much 
about their religion or their sins. These have the same Bible. 
The first class find in it their duty to send the gospel to the 
Gentiles. The second read or hear the same words, but are, 
so far as any impression of duty is made on them, dead to what 
God has said to them. There is too much loose and thought- 
less reading of the words of our blessed Lord. I never realized 
this until I undertook the responsible work of translating the 
New Testament. I have found it necessary to fix the exact 
meaning of every word before I could translate it. 

But continue this downward scale. Pass through Texas, 
where the true light shineth, into Mexico. There the people 
are in semi-darkness. Then take a steamer for the furthest 
Orient. It enters at last the Yangtsz, and then the Whampoo 
River. You will be struck dumb at the panorama presented 
to your bewildered eyes. The hundreds and hundreds of boats, 

26o Yates The Missionary. * 

filed with people speaking to or contending with each other 
in a strange language will remind you that you have entered 
?. strange world. I meet you on the wharf, and p'U you into 
a 'rick-sha, a small, two-wheeled pull-man car. It is two miles 
to my house, and all the way through crowded streets. I ask 
you to cast your eyes up each narrow cross-street, th:it you may 
get an idea of the multitudes everywhere. 

After showing you the city, I will take you on a fortnight's 
trip. We'll go forty-five miles to Kwinsan, where I have a little 
church; then thirty miles further to Soochow, where is another 
church, but no missionary or native pastor. For two years I 
have been begging for three men for this great city, which is 
three times as large as Shanghai. We go on the Grand Canal, 
past several large cities, a hundred miles further to Chinkiang. 
Hunnex, a small but energetic man, is alone in this important 
center. Here we take a steamer on the Yang-tsz River back 
to Shanghai. 

You have now seen samples of the millions who would be 
accessible to resident missionaries, if we had thetn at these 
interior centers. They are well dressed; they are a polite people; 
but, alas they have no knowledge of God nor of the blessed 
joys and hopes that come to us through revelation. To their 
minds, there is no Creator. All things were hatched by the 
contact of light and darkness. According to their ideas of 
transmigration, they expect to take their turn in the world again 
as the animating spirits of men, beasts, or insects. Their great 
desire is to come again as men of wealth and position, so as to 
secure the means of enjoyment of the flesh. 

They have no idea of an immortal soul. Their theory is 
that they have three souls and six spirits. One soul is in the 
head, one in the body, and one in the extremities. At death, 
one remains with the corpse, one with the ancestral tablet, and 
one undergoes a term of punishment in the world of spirits 
before migrating again into the world of light. With all 
their philosophy and systems, they have no conception of the 
immortal soul, of its possibilities and susceptibilities forever 
and ever. 

Now, my brother, by running down this sliding scale, from 

Yates The Missionary. 261 

the highest to the lowest, till you find yourself enveloped in 
the thick darkness of the four hundred millions of China, and 
by imagining what the sins of a people must be who never have 
had any of the restraints of the gospel, you can form some 
faint idea of the thoughts and character of a people who are, in 
truth, without hope and without God. Their sins I shall not 
recount. Paul has done that. 

Shanghai, May 20, 1885. 
My family arrived May 4th, having circumnavigated the globe 
without encountering a storm at sea. 

To meet them, I came down from Chinkiang, where, for two 
weeks, I had been superintending the erection of our new chapel. 
This evening I return to carry on that work. The services at 
the rented chapel are well attended, and there are several appli- 
cants for baptism. 

The Franco-Chinese war may be said to be at an end. From 
conversation with the people, I have an impression that the war 
will, in the end, tend to the furtherance of the gospel in China. 
For this let us all hope and pray. 

I was thrilled by Dr. Bailey's telegram from the Convention 
in Augusta, -'Psalm 20. Build Chapel." In spirit I was present 
in the Convention each day. Saturday evening, while I was 
engaged in meditation, the telegram was handed in, and, in a 
moment, I had the whole Convention by the hand, as I sung, 
"Blest be the tie that binds." The Lord be praised for the 
blessing of Christian fellowship and the communion of hearts 
all the way around the globe. When we all meet above, and 
they from the land of Sinim, oh, there will be g^eat joy in 
the New Jerusalem. Till we receive our invitation, let us work 
on, for the night will soon come. 

Shanghai, June 9, 1885. 
I have just arrived from Chinkiang, where I have been most 
of the time for a month superintending the erection of our 
chapel and the overhauling of the mission house. The latter 
is completed, and the expense will be nearly met b> the rent 
paid from the time it came into our hands. Mr. Hunnex is 
moving in to-day. The chapel will be completed in August. 
Since I have put this property into shape, an application has 
been made to buy it at a large advance on cost. 

262 Yates The Missionary. 

Mr. llimnex, writing on June 19th, refers to the "ab^.e 
superintendence by Dr. Yates of the building; opera- 
tions," and adds: "As I glance at the solid, well-built 
avails of the chapel, I recall to mind the words of D/. 
Yates while we were locating it together, 'This place 
will stand long after I am gone.' Often have we prayed 
together that God would make this place the b^nhplace 
of many souls." 

Shanghai, June 25, 1885. 

We are entering upon our worst summer weather. After 
eight months of agony and v.'ork, I feel the need of a good 
rest. But, for the present, rest at Chefoo will be all that I feel 
that I can take without damage to our work. I hare no desire 
to leave so long as I can do efifective work. The night will 
soon come. 

Chefoo, September 17, 1885. 
To the Edenton Baptist Missionary Society: 

The small field that I have staked off and am trying to cul- 
tivate embraces a population much greater than that of all the 
Southern States. All this multitude, so far as the knowledge 
of God and of the way of life is concerned, is in total darkness. 
Having no knowledge of the light of revelation, tho\ have no 
conception of the weal or woe of an immortal soul. In fact, 
they have no correct ideas of an immortal soul. 

Their own theory is heathenism, pure and simple, without 
light enough to induce a doubt as to the utility of their own 
religious systems. 

This view of the habitation of cruelty, where Satan reigns, may 
serve to give a more definite idea of the enormous work that 
Christ has committed to us, and at the same time, to show how 
inadequate are the methods and means now in use among our 
pastors and churches in Christian lands. 

The work does look appalling to everything but faith in God 
and in the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit over the human 
heart. But, with faith in Christ as our leader, we can accom- 
plish wonders for the glory of God, even among these dry 
bones. But the faith that does not prompt to action in behalf 
of Christ's cause in all lands is a dead faith. 

Yates The Missionary. 263 

The Chinese have, and have had for ages, a civilization of 

Iheir own. but it is rotten at the core. They have more gods 

or objects of worship than there are people in the United 

States. But they have had no knowledge of God for a hundred 

generations, and, from a period beyond the commencement of 

authentic history, they have been sitting in the region and 

shadow of death. 

Shanghai, October 12, 1885. 

We returned from Chefoo two weeks ago. I rejoice to say 
that ^Irs. Yates is quite restored to health. From May to 
September I had a slow fever. The doctors say 'hat it was 
the natural result of overv/ork. I kept going all the time, but 
felt depressed and good-for-nothing. I am quite well now. 

This week I am going up the river to take delivery of the 
Chinkiang chapel, which is now finished. The pulpit stand 
will go along with me. Now for *the bell. When shall we see 

Since the restoration of peace, there has been a great dearth 
of interest among the Chinese in religious matters, and yet I 
am expecting good to come out of the war. 

The great Viceroy, Li Hung Chang, in giving instructions 
to the officials to have no difficulty with the Protestant mis- 
sionaries, has sounded the keynote, a note which will doubt- 
less vibrate through every province in China. The Tungchow 
Mission had abandoned all hope of getting certain premises they 
needed, when lo, the owner of the property informed the 
brethren of the instructions of the Viceroy and invited them to 
go and take possession of the property, assuring them that there 
would be no opposition. 

This pregnant incident is full and running over with hope 
for the future of mission work in the north of China. 

The officials at headquarters discovered during the war that 
Protestant missionaries are true, and can be trusted. 

What efforts ought we not to put forth at this t^rn of the 

*A fine bell for the Chinkiang chapel was shipped to China 
by Menely & Co. in the summer of 1887. The amount necessary 
for its purchase ($212) was raised by the efforts of Dr. Yates' 
former colleague, Rev. W. S. Walker, of Georgia. 

264 Yates The Missionary. 

tide in our favor? You give us warning of a falling ofT in in- 
terest and contributions and advise great caution in the use of 
funds. This is no time for falling ofif. Rather let every minister, 
church, and member put forth their utmost eflforts, while we 
here engage afresh in the death grip with this hydra-headed 
monster — the enemy of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Shanghai, November 8, 1885. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

You telegraphed me from the Convention, "Build your 
chapel." I am happy in being able to inform the contributors 
to that fund that the Tsing-way-dong is completed, and is 
in use daily. 

Bryan will have nothing to do but to take the reins and drive 
ofT. But that will be enough to occupy his whole attention 
and skill. The training of a yoke of young oxen or a team of 
young mules is nothing to the labor and patience required to 
bring into subjection to Christ a team of stolid Chinese. 

North Carolina is doing well, having six representatives in 
China and another at Wake Forest who will soon come to the 
front to occupy Soochow. The influence of my Alma Mater 
will go on down through the ages. Her endowm.ent ought 
to be doubled. I'll be one of two hundred to do it within five 

Chin-chin Tom Skinner for me. Tell him I love him still. 

Shanghai, November 10, 1885. 
To his Sister: 

I am now pretty well and full of work. I have built a nice 
church at Chinkiang, one hundred and fifty-seven miles up the 
Yang-tsz-kiang, this spring and summer. It is a beauty, and 
will seat about two hundred and fifty people. 

Mr. and Mrs. Herring will be stationed there, if they ever 
get here. Now that they have been detained to attend the 
State Convention, we cannot expect them before the end of 
this year, about the time you get this, or a little later, for I 
believe the Convention meets to-day or to-morrow. I expected 
them last week. What a disappointment! We were ready to 
receive and give them a warm welcome. Well, I have become 
accustomed to disappointments; this is only the last one. As 

Yates The Missionary. 265 

the new comers will have to study two years before they can 
speak the language, I am anxious they should begin as soon 
as possible to learn it. 

Shanghai, November 10, 1885. 

The Chinkiang chapel is a thing of beauty. It is built of the 
best burnt brick, and in the best style of workmanship. The 
walls are upon a cement foundation three feet broad and three 
ieet thick. With repairs of ordinary wear and tear, it will stand 
?nd be servicable long after its builder is forgotten. 

The general effect is charming. Crowds of Chinese stand at 
all hours of the day and gaze at it with admiration and delight. 
The fame of its beauty has gone forth among the millions. 

While at Chinkiang I had the privilege of conducting the 
magistrate through the chapel and explaining to him every- 
thing, even to the process of baptizing believers. He seemed 
interested, and, as it is not often that I meet an acting official 
under such favorable circumstances, I imparted to him and his 
attendants no small amount of religious truth. 

He spoke of the cleanliness and purity of the whole place 
in every part. I responded, "Yes, this place is dedicated to the 
worship of the only true God, who is pure and holy. Here we 
labor to teach men to be pure in heart. Men and women who 
live in a dirty place and hear filthy conversation all around them, 
do not have clean and pure hearts. And without this they can 
never be at peace with God." He replied: "The work that you 
propose will be very difficult." 

Shanghai, December, 1885. 
Mrs. Yates to the young ladies of Greensboro (N. C.) Church: 

When I was young, there were no such societies as yours. 
Nobody had thought that girls could help send the gospel to 
China or other heathen lands. My good uncle took me regu- 
larly to the "Concert of Prayer for Missions," and always put 
a piece of silver in my hand for me to drop into the plate; but 
he never taught me to earn or save my own money for missions. 
I am sure that it would have gladdened his heart could he have 
known then that his niece would one day be a missionary. But 
neither of us dreamed of such a thing when I was a girl in 

266 Yates The Missionary. 

Shanghai, January 19, 1886. 
To the Recorder: 

My long expected reinforcement arrived on the •i'vening of 
the 13th. I had been down at the wharf till five P.M. Then 
I was told that the steamer would not come in till the next 
morning, and I returned home. I had not been at home an 
hour before some one, while we were eating supper, pulled my 
door bell. I opened the door and found two strangers standing 
without who called out, "Herring and Bryan." This was a 
surprise. By nine o'clock we had Mr. and Mrs. Herring and 
Mr. and Mrs. Bryan with us. Need I tell you that there was joy 
in this old house? Thanks be to God for all his mercies to 
them and to us. 

We have now seen enough of them to know that North Caro- 
lina has sent us the right men and women. They give promise 
to be real co-laborers in the right way, and seem Lo be ready 
to labor, and, if necessary, to suffer for Christ. 

Brother Herring remains with me. Brother Bryan goes to 
Chinkiang. Now we want two mountaineers for Soochow, to 
take charge of the little church there and work up the cities on 
the Grand Canal. This is a great field and a great opportunity. 

Shanghai, March 22, i^ 
There are three applicants for baptism at Kwinsan. 
I am glad of a little respite from translating, for it is hard 
work. I am never free from a jaded feeling, and yet the ma- 
chine must be kept going. 

Shanghai, May i, 1886. 

Mrs. Yates and I are as well as could be expected at our 
advanced age. I have now had fourteen j'^ears of consecutive 
hard work with sore afflictions. Out of these the Lord has 
delivered me. And he has enabled us to keep the Mission in- 
tact, besides greatly enlarging it, until reinforcements arrived. 

Shanghai, May 5, 1886. 
To his Sister: 

I wish you could see our own home at Chefoo. Our house 

is on the north side of a hill about two hundred feet high. If 

you stand on my front verandah, and throw your arms back 

as far as you can, all in front of your arms is open sea, with 

Yates The Missionary. 267 

here and there an island to beautify the prospect. We can see 
the steamers coming from the east or west an hour before 
they arrive; and when they come in or go out, they pass close 
to the hill, in front of our front door. We can see who comes 
and Avho goes away. 

We have a private bathing pool of salt water, at the foot of 
the bluff. Perhaps I should tell you that all the water in the 
great, great ocean is more salt than 3^ou could make a tub of 
well water by using all the salt that it would dissolve. It is, 
however, very healthy to bathe in it. It is so clear and nice. 
We roll about in it every day at high tide, whenever we feel 
like it. Then in my three gardens I have room for sweet corn 
and all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees. The fruit trees are 
not in bearing yet, except some of the grapes. 

I weigh 241 pounds. But age creeps on apace. Mother and 
I are two-thirds white headed, and cannot endure what we 
could and did ten years ago. Henceforth we must decline till 
our sun sets. I have had the care of all the churches and mis- 
sion work here for twenty-four years. All this care, and doing 
all the preaching, and constant study while translating the 
New Testament, has told on me, for there is a limit to a strong 
man's power of endurance. Henceforth, I must take things 
easy. Perhaps the time may come when I can slip home and 

see you all once more. But and are going to leave 

their fields for a year of rest. And there are so few of us that, 
if one goes, the others must stay. 

I have had no additions to my church for some time. The 
Chinese are ready to join the church if they can get employ- 
ment in the church. Too many take such expectants into the 
church; but I did not come here for anything but to teach them 
the way to be saved and to become disciples of the Lord Jesus. 

Shanghai, May 24, 1886. 
i o the Recorder: 

I see that, at 's instance, you have republished a paper 

that I read several years ago before the Missionary Conference. 

If designed to use my paper as a sort of collateral 

to support what seems to be his appeal from the decision of 
the Board to the Convention, he was not fair; for I animad- 

268 Yates The Missionary. 

verted on grievous errors in methods of mission work, real 
evils that have insinuated themselves into the churches and 
missions of China, especially those of other denominations, 
the influence of which was seriously damaging my own work; 

while, in 's plea, he hardly alludes to these evils, except 

very remotely. 

I referred to the unscriptural and unchristian methods of mis- 
sion work now and of late years so widely and inconsiderately 
adopted by most Missions, of employing such a large propor- 
tion, not only of their own membership, but of all comers from 
other churches who are in search of employment as evangelists, 
colporters, Bible women, etc., as to create the impression far 
and wide among the heathen that a man is paid to become a 
Christian. It opens up to him a better way of making a living. 

I dare not even guess what proportion of those who are re- 
ported as hopeful additions to churches are influenced by this 
sort of inspiration. There is too much work done in order to 
appear successful. This is the canker worm at the heart of 
too nuich mission work. God save me from such notoriety. 

Rev. William Miiirhead, of the London Missionary 
Society, the veteran of fifty years of labor in Shanghai, 
bears testimony to Dr. Yates' high standard for church 

Dr. Yates had large gatherings to listen to his preaching, 
and many applications were made for admission into his church. 
He often had to reject applicants as unfit candidates for Chris- 
tian fellowship. He had a high standard. We had frequent 
conversations on this subject. In this matter he was a 
thoroughly consistent Baptist, as, indeed, he was in all other 

On one occasion he told me that had he been less stringent, 
he might have had a church of a thousand members. As it 
was, several of his people were prominent and active workers. 
For many years there was a monthly concert of prayer held 
by the native Christians of all denominations. Dr. Yates' na- 
tive pastor, Wong, was distinguished by the part he always took 
m the proceedings. Another, who still lives, has long borne 

Yates The Missionary. 26g 

a high character as a Christian man. There are, no doubt, 
many others who have furnished good evidence of their genuine 
faith. His earnest and prolonged labors in the seivice of the 
Master were not in vain, as many are able to testify. 

Shanghai May 5, 1886. 
To the Recorder: 

If a man is largely influenced by the books and papers that 
he reads and studies— and I it — then I am soaked 
through and through with the Biblical Recorder and Religious 
Herald. Wonderful is the improvement in these papers since 
I left America in 1846. No man can partake of such food as 
they now furnish w^eekly without growing larger and broader 
and better in every relation in life. 

What a w^onderful and secret power they wield for the uni- 
fication of the churches and the diffusion of knowdedge. Why, 
sir, they are the great preachers of the land. If widely circu- 
lated, they would do more good than all the missionaries of 
the Home Board. I wonder that pastors do not rriake more 
efforts to introduce these powerful auxiliaries into their con- 

In these ends of the earth I could not live without my Re- 
corder and Herald. They help to make me happy and contented. 
I feel that I am a member of a large family. Even the heathen 
are benefited by my reading these papers, for I am enabled 
to preach better. 

Anyone who is anxious to do good can do a great work by 
persuading others to take and read a good religious paper. 

Recently I received two letters, one from a little boy, and the 
other from his sister. They asked me to write them a letter, 
and I want to do it. But I have lost the address. li they will 
write to me again, I will answer their letter. 

Shanghai, June i, 1886. 
Last month I made a pastoral visit to Kwinsan, Soochow, 
and Chinkiang. Four have been received for baptism at Kwin- 
san, and two at Soochow. Mr. Herring, who accompanied me, 
was more than delighted with his trip, and with the prospects 
for genuine work. Oh, for two men for Soochow! 

270 Yates The Missionary. 

Now. my dear brother, I can see a danger signal. Overtaxing 
iny powers has brought on a serious dizziness of the head 
which sometimes causes me to stagger badly. Yesterday, twice 
during my sermon, I had to close my eyes and hold fast to 
the pulpit to save myself from falling. The effects of the 
eflfort to preach are felt for a day or two. I think it best to 
take my doctor's advice and go to Chefoo, where I can have 
quiet rest in bracing sea air. 

Since I have seen 's appeal to the Convention, I have 

been much concerned about the effect of the republication of 

my paper to be used with 's rules, under Art. 5. I have 

discussed these peculiar views with him more than once, and 
have rejected them as absurd for Central China missions. 

had no authority to quote nic as supporting his views. 

There are evils to be abated, but he has not made them 

Chefoo, July, 1886. 

I hope that I am improving, but I am laid aside for the 
present. 1 am only in a fit condition to be turned out to grass. 
I am in my sixty-eighth year. I have fought a good fight. 
Alone I have held the fort in Central China for ihe Foreign 
Mission Board since 1863, and now I have touched bottom. I 
am suffering from prolonged overwork, and am too tired to 
rest m.ind or body. I crave ten years more of work. The 
will of the Lord be done. 

Chefoo, July 10, 1886. 

On account of overwork, I have been ordered here by my 
doctor for a complete rest for a few months. I am Detter, but 
not free from some bad indications. 

After Dr. Yates' death, Dr. T. E. Skinne." wrote: 

Matthew Yates was a busy man from the time he fed his 
father's swine before sunrise, always stopping at the old hollow 
tree on his return, for morning prayer, all the way along life, 
here and in China, to the close of his life. 

To translate the New Testament into the Shanghai dialect 
for the forty millions of people in that province might well be 
called the work of a lifetime. He seemed not to imderstand 

Yates The Missionary. 2^1 

the indispensable necessity for leisure to men intensely engaged 
in literary work. 

Well do I remember the difficulty with which, .luring the 
month I spent with him in Geneva, he was restrained from 
constant work. 

The wonder is that Yates lived as long as he did — nearly 

the allotted period of human life — sixty-nine years, of which 

by far the greater portion was consecrated to toil in a heathen 


Chefoo, August 19, 1886. 

Mrs. Yates joined me here July i6th. With sea-bathing and 
complete rest I am feeling better, though I have lost twenty 
pounds in weight. I am conscious now that I have had too 
great a strain upon my powers of endurance during the twenty- 
four years that I have been alone. I hope that the Lord of 
the harvest will grant me another decade of quiet work. Be- 
fore J lay my armor down I desire to see the work in China 
go beyond the preparatory stage, when native Christians shall 
no longer be mere hirelings. 

Let U5 put our trust in God and not in men. The work is 
His and He will, in his time and way, prosper our efforts. 

Chefoo, August 28, 1886. 

A few days ago I wrote to Mr. Devault, who is ill at Tung- 
chow, urging him to maintain, in addition to strong convic- 
tions in regard to his work, an indomitable will to do what 
Christ had commanded him to do, and then leave the whole 
matter of health in the Lord's hands. I gave him a prescrip- 
tion from my own experience. 

During my first years in China, I was so run down by ague 
and fevci that I thought that my work was finished. I came 
before the Lord in this wise: "Oh, Lord, if it is thy will that my 
work end now, Thy will be done. If it is Thy will that my 
strength be restored to work for Thee in this land of darkness, 
bclioid Thy servant for all time." 

The decades that have passed show that the good Lord was 
only harnessing me up for a forty year trot at the late of 2:20. 
There is life and protection in strong convictions, indomitable 
will, and faith in God. This life, this protection against tempta- 

272 Yates The Missionary. 

tion and spiritual dcadness is available to all Christians in 
every condition of life. 

The Lord be praised for the way in which the Baptists of 
the old North State have rallied to the support of their minis- 
try, to ministerial education, and the extension ot Christ's 
kingdom at home and abroad. They have begun the work 
needed for Wake Forest, from which many streams have issued 
to bless the world. All those who have participated in these 
things feel the richer for what they have done. I like such in- 
vestments as these, for they will go on down the ages doing 
good long after we are forgotten. Shall we not rally for the 
complete endowment of Wake Forest? 

Oh, for a baptism of the Holy Spirit for us all at home and 
abroad. The night will soon come. 

I have had none of those disagreeable spasms of the brain 
for two months. 

Shanghai, November 30, 1886. 

At Shanghai a thing has happened this year which, for spirit- 
ual power and widespread influence for good, surpasses any- 
thing that has occurred before among the natives. 

Wong-yih-san, now a deacon of my church, was in doubt 
when he joined the church more than twenty-five years ago 
whether he could support his family, if he closed his retail rice 
shop on Sundays. But he did it, and directed his customers, if 
they wished to eat his rice, to get on Saturday enough for 
Sunday, for he was now a Christian, and would close his shop 
on that day. He soon found that his old customers did not 
leave him. Not only so, but, through their conversation about 
a man who, in obedience to the command of God, closed his 
shop to all business every seventh day, he had a much larger 
run of business. For even the heathen like to deal with a trust- 
worthy man. 

Wong soon became a wholesale merchant, and a sort of 
oracle in the rice business. As he was known for and wide, 
when fleets of rice boats arrived, he was the first man to be 
visited by the supercargoes to get reliable information about 
the rice market. If they happened to arrive on Sunday and 
found Wong's warehouse closed, they would go back to their 

Yates The Missionary. 273 

boats and give no attention to business that day. Eari}' Monday 
morning Wong was supplied, if he wanted rice; if not, the super- 
cargoes were furnished with the ruHng rates for the several 
grades of rice, and went their way. 

In the course of time, Wong embarked in the real estate 
business, and in this was even more abundantly prosperous. 
He now has blocks of buildings in various parts of the city, 
and is, as he is regarded, a man of means. 

This year, while building a block, Wong, of his own accord, 
conceived the idea of building a chapel. The house was erected 
on his own property, and at his own charges, and is dedicated, 
for all time, to the worship of God. The chapel is unique, and 
is a very nice place. Here Wong-yih-san is monarch of all 
he surveys. He preaches regularly three afternoons in each 
week. I call in occasionally and find his place full of atten- 
tive listeners. But my presence does not daunt him. He points 
me to a chair in the amen corner and continues until he has 
finished. Then he tells his audience that he is a mere novice, 
that the old pastor will speak to them more satisfactorily. Be- 
fore I am through, I can see that he is just effervescmg to get 
another chance at his congregation. Sure enough, when I 
descend, he mounts the pulpit and hammers away for another 
half hour. 

Now this is the direction in which we want to go. I have 
long worked and prayed for spontaneous work. It is a real 
inspiration to my church, and to other churches as well. Many 
from these attend Wong's services; for the fame of this layman's 
noble deed has gone forth far and wide among millions. The 
man who has built his own chapel and preaches without wages 
will do more good than a hundred hirelings. 

Shanghai, January 7, 1887, 
To Prest. C. E. Taylor: 

My heart leaps with joy at the prospect of my dear old Alma 

Mater coming to the front. Yes, I will most cheerfully help 

to the extent of my ability to meet your present necessity in 

providing a Chemical Laboratory. Please find enclosed my draft 

for $200 gold. Please put this down as given by "an old 


274 Yates The Missionary. 

student.*' I do not wish to be known as giving anything in 
this matter. The Lord knows all about it. He told me to do 
it. And to his name be all the glory, now and ever. 

I am glad to see that a goodly number of students matricu- 
lated the first day of this session. I delight to pray for Wake 
Forest College. By the way, why should not the Aiumni As- 
sociation attempt to add another hundred thousand to the 
endowment? I will stand my share though I have no one to 
help me 

The Herrings and Bryans are well. They have commenced 
work in the chapels already, a year ahead of time. 

To-morrow I shall enter upon my sixty-ninth year. I am 
up for another decade, including a trip to America, which I 
much need. 

Shanghai, January i8, 1887. 

In some important respects, last year was the most success- 
ful year of my life in China. In respect to solid results and 
prospects for the future, I am far more hopeful to-day than 
I have ever been at the close of any previous year. I have al- 
ways been hopeful, even in sore bodily affliction and alone. 
To-day it is the exuberance of hope, arising out of the greatly 
improved condition of our work all along the line, as well as 
from the manifest presence of the Spirit of Truth in our midst. 

For many years I have made special prayer that God would 
inspire some of the members of my church with the will and 
the courage of their convictions to come out of the lut of spirit- 
ual mediocrity. Thank the Lord, this prayer has been answered 
in the person of my deacon, Wong, who has been a member of 
my church about twenty-eight years. Having been blessed 
in temporal things, he felt that he ought to manifest his grati- 
tude to the Giver of all. This he has done by building on his 
own land, at his own cost, a unique place of worship for the 
Chinese; and it has been dedicated to the Lord forever. In 
this he preaches on three afternoons in the week. 

Wong and his noble act are an inspiration to all. He has 
pointed out a new and better way. He is a forerunner in usher- 
ing in the self-support and religions spontaneity so desirable 
in China. 

Dkacon Wong and the Chapel Erected at his own Expense. 

Yates The Missionary. 275 

I want the balance of $460 due me by the Board paid to Rich- 
mond College, and so placed that it shall go on and on through 
the ages making preachers to preach for me after tny voice is 
no longer heard. I propose to make it a thousand dollars. 

In another letter he refers to the same gift as, 

The first installment of a scholarship which I desire to have 
in that institution. I covet an interest in Wake Forest College, 
the Seminary, and Richmond College. For I regard this as 
the surest and most effective way of conferring upon my fellow 
men a benefit that will never end. 

Before his death he arranged for the payment of the 
lemainder of the thousand dollars for this scholarship. 

To the Louisville Seminary he gave more than three 
thousand dollars. But his own Alma Mater was the 
largest recipient of his benefactions. Besides smaller 
gifts on several occasions, he gave to Wake Forest 
College $250 in 1873, $1,000 in 1878, $200 (for erection 
of laboratory) in 1886, and just before his death ^'4,350, 
to be loaned to needy students. 

Di. Yates' contributions which are known to us will 
amount to nearly twenty thousand dollars. To discove* 
all his charities, in China and America, would be im 
possible. "His purse, like his heart, was always open 
to the voice of God.'' 

The American and English Baptist missionaries 
undertook at this time the revision of the Goddard's 
New Testament. This could be read by '•'cholars it: 
every part of the Empire. Dr. Yates, referring to his 
appointment as one of the revisers, wrote: 'As I have 
jrst been over the whole ground in preparing my col- 
loquial version, it will be a comparatively easy task, 
provided I can secure a good classical writer." 

Shanghai, January 25, 1887. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

You North Carolina Baptists know how to roll logs, for I 

have taken part in that sport myself. I now invite one and all 

to a houseraising. I call upon each one, male and female, white 

276 Yates The Missionary. 

and colored, who would like to have a door, a windovv, a board, 
or a brick in a mission house for one of your own worthy sons 
to help in this emergency. It is to be at Chinkiang, a great 
center, just where the Grand Canal crosses the Yang-tsz River. 
Let us do it at a bound, and we shall never feel the wcise for it. 

Shanghai, February 10, 1887. 
To the Recorder: 

Are we not approaching a crisis in our foreign mission work? 
Is it not a fact that God is opening up work and vast fields, 
hitherto inaccessible, out of all proportions to the forecasts 
and preparations of his people? Do not opportunities bring 
corresponding" obligations? 

The facts show that, so far as Foreign Missions are concerned, 
we drift and are not prepared for an emergency. Take the case 
of Herring and Bryan, my beloved colleagues. They were 
leady. The Lord was ready. We were not ready. There was 
no money in the treasury to pay their passage. They must be 
detained lor many months. When, at last, the tear-wet hand 
was shaken, and they were fairly ofT, they received a request 
that a short telegram be sent from Yokohama, announcing 
their arrival. And all five of them could not raise enough to pay 
for the telegram to Shanghai. We did not know certainly that 
they had sailed from America until they knocked at our door. 

But the fact that they had no power to draw for a house at 
Chinkiang was a still greater surprise. For I had specially 
asked for the house to come with the man; otherwise the man 
would have no home. I shall feel sad indeed if I do not get the 
expected telegram in April. Why, sir, you must not send men 
and women out here and expect me to hitch them to the limb 
of a tree. They must have shelter and the comforts of a home 
if they are to be kept in a condition for work. 

I hear of many students who are turning their hearts and 
minds towards the heathen for a field in which to serve Christ. 
And who knows how many hundred of precious jewels there 
are on our Southern farms, who feel, though they have never 
told it, that God has a work for them to do, but wlio, for the 
want of education, feel shut up to a life of inactivity? 

If this should reach the eye of such a brother, let me say that 

Yates The Missionary. 277 

I have been just where you are. I have gazed at that apparently 
insurmountable barrier that blocks your way. I have ploughed 
up many a hill of corn or cotton while my mind was holding 
a committee meeting with the angels as to what I ought to do. 
Be not discouraged; tell your secret; give yourself to God in 
daily prayer. Go to work the best you can where you are. 
Do not wait until you can do something big. God will build 
a railroad through the forests and mountains of your difficulties 
and liberate you. 

When, for a few years, the Raleigh Association raised my 
full salary, there was one defect in it. They did it for me, and 
did not give God the glory. And one dark, cold night, the end 
of the rope which they had promised to hold on to came 
tumbling down on my head at the bottom of the well. 

Wong is a regular blunderbuss. His range is wide, if not 
far. He hurls at the heads of his audiences round shot, small 
shot, and Greek fire. They take it all kindly and come again, 
because he is a native, is in his own house, and is in dead 

Shanghai, April 19, 1887. 
After six weeks of rheumatic agony, I am now convalescent, 
having only an occasional echo of the pain. My old trouble 
is staunched for the present. For six weeks I have not been 
able to go to the chapel. I now rejoice in being able to resume 
my beloved work. My doctor strongly advises complete rest 
for one or two years. I shall rest at Chefoo this summer and 
see how the case stands. 

Shanghai, April 20, 1887. 
To Rev. C. T. Bailey, D.D.: 

I begin to feel weak-kneed about the Chinkiang house this 
year. But I remember a copy that T used to write when a boy, 
"Disappointment sinks the heart of man, but the lenewal of 
hope gives consolation." Oh, when will the Baptists of America 
come out of the old rut of giving a mere ''charity" to missions 
once a year? I live in hope, for the dear old Flat River Asso- 
ciation comes out of the mire at a bound, and is new on solid 
ground, and feels better. Many of them find that it is just as 
easy to give five or ten dollars to the cause of Christ as it 

278 Yates The Missionary. 

used to be to give twenty-five cents to print the minutes. It 
is all a matter of the heart, and not of the purse. 

Shanghai, May 25, 1887. 

I am again at full work, preaching and translating. Last 
Sunday was a red-letter day, for I baptized four. Next Sunday 
I hope to baptize two more, and others have given in their 
names as candidates for the heavenly kingdom. The Spirit 
of the Lord is evidently in our midst in a way that I have never 
seen before. In the long run, the faithful preaching of the 
gospel will tell. Deacon Wong's zeal and fidelity are kaving 
a good eftect. 

Oh, for another man at Chinkiang, and two men, with means 
to build them houses, at Soochow, where the church is rusting 
and the work is trailing for want of guidance. 

Oh, that the Baptists of the South had a full knowledge of 
the whole gospel of Christ and of the present moral condition 
of the world, for out of this knowledge the true missionary 
spirit must grow. It will never grow out of vivid and sensa- 
tional addresses once a year. Without a missionary spirit 
among the churches at home, in hearty sympathy with the 
work abroad, there is no ground, in the nature of things, for 
expecting large results. 

It is downright cruelty to the missionaries, as well as to the 
Board, which caters for them, to drag along as we have been 
doing. Reform must begin with pastors. They are respon- 
sible for making known the whole gospel. 

I regard our Seminary as the hope of the world. Let every 
young man who feels called of God to preach go to the Semi- 
nary for two years at least. If he cannot take the full course, 
which would be better, let him at least take the English course. 
If necessary, let him borrow the means; but at all hazards go. 
Let him put off getting married till he is ready to serve God 
in his vocation. Let him that readeth say go. 

Yates The Missionary. 279 



1888— AGE 68-9. 

N the spring of 1887, the Foreign Mission Board, 

by special action, invited Dr. Yates to return to 

the United States for rest and recuperation. The 

communication of the Secretary which mformed 

him of this action reached him about the time of his 

nrst stroke of paralysis. 

Chefoo, July 15, 1887. 

I thank the Board for remembering me. I fear, however, 
that the release came too late to be of much use m prolong- 
ing life and usefulness. 

When I awoke on the morning of June 30, I was surprised 
beyond measure to find that something serious had happened 
to me during my sleep. I could not get up. My left arm and 
leg seemed to have lost their cunning. I managed to get my 
feet to the floor, but my left foot could not bear my weight, and 
gravitation drew me to the floor. I could not rise without 
much help. 

I sent for Dr. Douthwaite, who, after examination, told me 
that I had decided premonitory symptoms of paralysis. He 
cautioned me to be very careful, and expressed the opinion 
that in a few days I should be able to walk again. 

I am a little clumsy now, but, with God's blessings, I have 
steadily improved till to-day I can walk about the house and 
yard with my cane. And the doctor encourages me to expect 
greater improvement in two weeks more. But I shall be in no 
condition to work for months. I had hoped to do much writ- 
ing this summer, but that hope must be abandoned. I cannot 
think of embarking for the United States in my shattered con- 
dition. I shall remain quietly where I am this summer, and 

28o Yates The Missionary. 

early in October return to Shanghai. Then, if able, I shall 
revise and put to press the rest of my translation of the New 
Testament. It is now complete except Revelation. 

This is important, as there is no one else who can do it for 
twenty years to come. If the Lord of Glory gives me strength 
to complete this work next winter, I shall then consider whether 
His glory will be advanced by my taking furlough of one or 
two years. 

This unexpected trouble is a serious matter. The questions 
that come most urgently to my mind are, Is my work finished? 
And what have I accomplished? I have fought, or tried to 
fight, a good fight in China for forty years. If I have more to 
do, the Lord will prepare me for it. I am His, and the work 
His. I have committed my future to Him. 

Chefoo, July :g, 1887. 
To the Baptists of North Carolina: 

Brethren, go slowly when, in your deliberations, you propose 
to devote your whole strength to State Missions to the ex- 
clusion of Foreign Missions, lest you should be found fighting 
against God; for this is God's work and we are his servants. 

The house in Chinkiang is a necessity, and must be built 
If the Baptists of North Carolina will give me means to do it 
by Christmas, well; if not. I shall take steps to get the money 
here, making myself personally responsible, and proceed to 
build the house next winter and spring. 

In a matter where the necessities of God's work call for 
action, I do not know the meaning of failure, if it be within 
my power to compass it. 

Chefoo, July 22, 1887. 
To the Recorder: 

Several years ago, feeling that, surely, after so many years of 
work alone, and so many appeals for men, reinforcements would 
soon come, I marked out a field to be cultivated when the men 
arrived. It is compact and convenient, and embraces a popula- 
tion of twenty millions. But the men did not come, and, ar- 
dently desiring to begin a work at Chinkiang and Soochow, 
I took into my study four of the most promising young mem- 
bers of my church. For one entire year, I taught them two 

Yates The Missionary. 281 

hours daily in the Scriptures, to fit them for wotk at these 
stations. But I found out that they were not fitted lor aggres- 
sive work in its earhest stages. 

At this juncture, Mr. Hunnex, who knew the language, came 
to us from the Inland Mission, and was located by the Board 
at Chinkiang. But there was one fatal drawback in the Chin- 
kiang start. House rent was too expensive, and we had no 
house or chapel of our own. 

For two days Mr. Hunnex and I looked at various locations 
in and about the city. At last I told him that we had seen only 
one position which was fit for mission premises. "What place 
do you mean?" said he. "I mean the place on the foot hills 
of Silver Mountain, where the Northern Methodists live. Their 
lease expires next spring, and they are building elsewhere. 
They surely have not perceived the good fung-snui of this 
place." "Oh, yes, now I understand what place you mean, 
but what do you mean by fung-shui?" "Oh, don't you under- 
stand fung-shui? When a place has everything to favor it, 
and nothing to oppose it, it is said to have 'good fung-shui.' 
Now study this place. First, it is elevated; there is no malaria; 
there is abundance of breeze. Second, it is convenient to the 
river. Third, it is near the Foreign Concession, where you can 
liave society. Fourth, it is in close proximity to the crowds 
of natives upon whom we wish to operate. Fifth, four much 
frequented streets form a star just in front of where the chapel 
door should be. An audience can be secured at any hour. 
Sixth, there is room for two dwellings on the same lot with the 
chapel. How convenient for lady workers. If baby wakes 
from his nap. and cries, nurse can call from the window, and 
in two minutes the mother can be with her darling." 

"Oh, I see the advantages now. But can you get it? You 
know that it belongs to Mr. Benjamin, of Shanghai, a million- 
aire and a Jew." 

"We can ask the Lord to give it into our hands. Israel con- 
quered whole cities and vast armies by prayer. I will pray the 
Lord to soften the heart of that Jew whom I have never seen." 

I saw great possibilities in that site. As Michael Angelo saw 
an angel in a block of marble, I saw a beautiful chapel on the 

282 Yates The Missionary. 

corner of that lot and many saints coming forth from it as their 
birth place. 

I went down to Shanghai and called on Mr. Benjamin, and 
then on the manager of a bank which held a lien on the prop- 
erty. They gave me the refusal of the property at 5,000 taels 
till April 30th. Then I wrote to the Board. With my appli- 
cation and description, I gave three telegraphic ciphers, "good, 
better, best." Four days before the expiration of the time of 
refusal I received "good," which was the one I wanted. It 
meant, "Buy; for less than the figure named, if possible, or 
more, if necessary." I bought the property for 4,250 taels, and 
before I was fairly over my agitation from having succeeded, a 
broker presented himself and proposed to pay me a premium 
on my bargain. 

During the session of the Convention in Augusta, I received 
the telegram, "Build your chapel." I commenced work with- 
out delay. I wish you could see it. It is a perfect bijou. Four 
great converging thoroughfares meet just in front of the chapel 
door. In locating this chapel, I availed myself of my knowledge 
of the character and habits of the Chinese just as when, in my 
boyhood, I placed my snares in places that I knev/ to be fre- 
quented by partridges. I have never before seen a place of 
worship so advantageously situated for securing an audience. 

In the early siinimer of this year, after about a thou- 
sand dollars had been raised in North Carolina for the 
"Bryan House," in Chinkiang, a religious paper un- 
fortunately published the incorrect statemc it that, as 
i\Ir. Hunnex was about to leave Chinkiang, the new 
house would not be needed. Thereupon the suggestion 
was publicly made that the money should h-. expended 
.n giving Dr. Yates an extended vacation in America 
These facts will explain the next letter. 

Chefoo, August i, 1887. 
To the Recorder: 

Could I take the means needed to build a house which is 
required to advance Christ's kingdom in China, ana appropri- 
ate the amount to my own use, and be innocent? T will not do 
that thing, if I never get a rest from my labors and cares. 

Yates The Missionary. 28;^ 

I am not much concerned now about going borne. My 
paralysis is better, but I cannot work or bear much fatigue 
and worry. I am the Lord's patient. I rest my case in His 
hands, and will try to do and suffer His will. 

Chefoo, August 23, 1887. 

My health is improving slowly. I am a little shaky all over, 
though I present the appearance of a man in vigorous health. 

The Alumni Association of Wake Forest College has asked 
me to deliver the address in June, 1888. If I am able 
to do it, perhaps I may go in the spring. It is impossible to 
tell what I will do eight months hence. 

Chef(,o, September 27, 1887. 

Do the Foreign Mission Board and the churches realize the 
fact that, for want of more activity and co-operation at home, 
their work in this great Empire is on the eve of a most serious 
crisis? It is a fact. One-half of our working force in China 
are disabled, some by disease that was latent, others by over- 
work in trying to do the work of two or thre^ men. 

And yet we hear nothing of reinforcements. 

Now, inasmuch as it takes two or three years to find out 
whether a recruit can get the language and make a good stay- 
ing and working missionary, it is evident that a seiious crisis 
is imminent. Oh, for a revival among pastors and churches on 
the subject of Foreign Missions to the heathen! ^ 

I am gradually recovering from the paralysis of one-half of 
me. I can now walk, though not as formerly, for a mile. 

The following letter was printed as part of an editorial 
Ai the issue of The Biblical Recorder for Mav 23'] 1888, 
which was live months after il was writ^^n and tw^o 
"lonths after the writer had been laid in his <;ra^e. 

Shanghai, October 18, 1887. 
The Father. Son, and Holy Ghost being my witness, I have 
had Foreign Missions on the brain for more than forty years. 
1 have studied it in all its phases and relations, at home and 
abroad. I have been first on one and then on the o<^her side of 
questions that were debatable. But my position was such that 

284 Yates The Missionary. 

it was not m}^ province to debate them. I have had forty years 
of work on the field, and have had a good opportunity to ob- 
serve the defects and deficiencies of the old, or prevaiHng sys- 
tem, through a central board. For many years I have been con- 
vinced that we shall never convert the heathen world on the 
old basis. The missionaries, the real workers in this business, 
are spiritually and sympathetically too far removed from their 
base, their constituents. Consequently, they have, after the 
first two or three years after their departure, no reflex influence 
on their natural constituents. They are natives, it may be, of 
the backwoods of North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. 
In their zeal for the glory of God and the extension of Christ's 
kingdom in the world, they marched up to Richmond, at the 
time indicated, to be inspected, examined, and passed upon by 
the Foreign Mission Board, which is composed of strangers, 
and soon they sail for China or Africa, and are lost to their 
natural constituents. And these, having no official connection 
with them, soon cease to feel much more interest in them or 
their work than they do in men from other States, hence the 
very best means of developing the Foreign Mission spirit in a 
particular locality is lost. And that is a great loss. For all 
who know anything about this work know that development is 
needed at home as much as abroad. There must be mutual 
sympathy and co-operation. This does not take place when 
your men are taken from your State Board and placed under 
a central board in Richmond, Va. For, after all that is said 
to the contrary, to show that the State Boards are in closest 
sympathy with the central board, the undeniable fact remains 
that it is not true. The Foreign Mission interests in the States, 
as is proven by the history of forty years effort, can never be 
developed by a central board in which the churches in different 
States feel no particular interest. Never. Those who work 
at and those who support Foreign Missions must come closer 
together. The foreign mission interest in North Carolina can 
be developed and become a power for good, only by the North 
Carolina Mission Board, etc. 

Tnasnmch as the convictions to which Dr. Y.'ies re- 
ferred had been entertained by him "for years," 

Yates The Missionary. 285 

his letter must be interpreted in harmony with tht.' view-; 
\/]iich lie had frequently and publicly expressed. Less 
than three years before this time, before he had been 
weakened and depressed by his paralytic stroke, he ha'J 
written: "1 have advised against special Aork bein.; 
undertaken by societies and associations indeptrdently 
of the L^oreign Mission Board." If the letter is under- 
stood to mean that the State boards, worklr.g througli 
tl^e Board of the convention, should maintain more close 
and direct relations with missionaries who ha\e gone 
from these States, then the meaning becomes clear, and 
all inconsistency is removed. 

As has been stated, Dr. Yates was not living to ex- 
plain this letter after it had been published. But Mrs 
^'ates, who for forty years shaied in all his c<junsel:;, 
as well as in his labors, did not believe that her husband 
ever fa\ored the abolition of the Foreign Mission Board 
On April 14th, 1S93, in reply to the question ^^hether 
Dr. Vates would have approved of missionaries severing, 
their relations with the Board in Richmond and ac- 
cepting support directly from churches, she replied with 
emphasis, in the presence of several persons, that he 
did not at all approve of the latter method. She added 
ihat she thought it a great mercy to her hr sband thai 
he was taken away before some members ^>i the China 
missions had left the service of the Board, ff r it would 
have been a source of grief to him. 

Before this interview, Mrs. Yates had already vTittei 
the following letter to the Biblical Recorder: 

Shanghai, May 19, 1892. 

I have nothing against Mr. , but I am strongly opposed 

to the plan which he proposes, because I am sure il tends to 
break down all organized effort in the denomination. I re- 
joice greatly in the assurance that North Caroliria Baptists 
adhere firmly to united effort, and have confidence in the man- 
agement of the Board, and that there is no disposition on the 
part of any of our North Carolina churches to do foreign mis- 
sion work other than through our Board in Richmond. 

286 Yates The Missionary. 

I cannot make out what our discontented missionaries have 
to complain of; for the Board has been exceedingly kind to all 
whom the churches have placed under its care and direction. 
If I were to find fault, it would be that it is too indulgent — 
allows its missionaries to do too much as they please. In look- 
ing back over the forty years of my life in China, I cannot re- 
call a single word or act of arbitrary control toward any one 
of us. Yet it has not been because provocations, many and 
grave, were wanting. 

Neither am I clever enough to see what advantages these 
discontented brethren expect to secure. They claim that under 
their plan, the home churches would know all about the work, 
take more interest in it, and send out more laborers. The 
churches would know what their missionaries chose to tell 
them — neither more nor less. Whatever they could do under 
the proposed plan they could do under the old plan. What 
hinders their giving information to the churches and associa- 
tions now? I know that many of us do write frequently; we are 
glad to do so. And I believe that the churches know more than 
they are credited with. 

Faultfinding is a tool that never turns out good work. The 
tool that we all need to handle most is described ."n the thir- 
teenth Chapter of First Corinthians. 

After the completion of the manuscript uf tin's me- 
7noir, letters were received from Rev. R. T. Bryan and 
]vTrs. Annie Seaman, of Shanghai, and Rev. C. W 
Pruitt, some extracts from which ought to be mserted 
at this point. 

Mr. Bryan sa}'s: 

I have seen Mrs. Seaman (nee Annie Yates) this morning. 
She emphatically denies that her father ever at any time held 
to the views of the "Gospel Missionaries." She says that Mother 
Yates wrote many letters protesting against the use that was 
made of his letters after his death. 

I also know that Dr. Yates did not hold the views of the 
"Gospel Mission." Some brethren have been perfectly honest 
and sincere in the use made of one of his letters, but these breth- 

Yates The Missionary. 287 

ren were not associated with Brother Yates as I v/as. They 
have formed their views from the letter, which, without any 
explanation, is Hable to be misunderstood. It is Hke a word 
or sentence taken out of its connection. 

I think that I can give you some of Dr. Yates' views as to 
mission methods. 

He had httle patience with trying to Hve and dress as the 
Chinese do. 

As to the salaries of missionaries, he thought that they were 
at one time a little too high, and advocated $1,000 a year for 
a married man and his wife. This is the salary new paid by 
the Board. 

Dr. Yates' time was so taken up with preaching, opening new 
stations, and translation work, that he had little time to give 
to school work. At one time, however, he had a boys' day 
school, and Mrs. Yates supported a girls' school up to the time 
of her death. 

In 1877, at the Conference in Shanghai, he made a strong 
speech in favor of mission schools as a means of destroying 
idolatry. He also encouraged us to have a school for girls 
in Chinkiang. He was, pre-eminently, a preacher; he believed 
in preaching, and spent most of his time in that work. But 
he believed in a limited amount of work and expenditure in 
schools. Any statement of his which might seem to oppose 
schools was against the wholesale use of mission money and 
mission time for school work. He did think that some of the 
other denominations spent too much on schools. 

Up to his death. Dr. Yates believed in a Foreign Mission 
Board. In a conversation with me just before his ^ast illness, 
he expressed the opinion that, if the several States had more 
representation in the management of the Foreign Mission work, 
they would take more interest in it. He had no desire to do 
away with the Board, but wished to make it less central and 
local, and to give the several States more representation in 

Dr. Yates was very much worried, and even angry, when he 
learned that some of his letters were used to sustain views with 
which he had no sympathy. 

288 Yates The Missionary. 

I know that Dr. Yates was very much opposed i.o the plan 
of trying to carry on the work in China without a Board. He 
never for a moment advocated tlie idea that a church or 
churches should do their own Foreign Mission work without 
a Board. He sent home a proposition for a more lepresenta- 
tive Board, but this was not accepted by the Convention. He 
acquiesced in the decision and labored on cheerfully with the 
Board as it was, never for a moment thinking of severing his 
connection with it. 

Mrs. Seaman, Dr. Yates' daughter, writes: 

I remember as if it were yesterday Mr. 's spending a 

week with us in Chefoo, trying to persuade father to sign a 
scheme for the "new departure," no schools, no paid assist- 
ants, etc. Father approved of certain details and then, I can 

almost hear it now, he added: "No, Brother . I cannot 

go with you in that." Then the talk would continue, and the 
same thing would happen day after day. It almost seemed as 
if Mr. thought that he could worry father into yielding. 

Father did not approve of paying men to preach and Bible 
women to go about and talk in families simply because they 
were paid to do it; but if a man oi woman showed any gift 
or inclination to teach the gospel, beyond the desire for employ- 
ment, he was willing to pay such a one a salary, that his whole 
time might be given to the work. That he certainly did not 
disapprove of this kind of paid assistants is shown by the fact 
that he employed them himself. 

I am very anxious, as I know both father and mother would 
have been, to have nothing in the memoir which vould leave 
the least doubt in any mind as to father's loyalty to the Board. 

The following letter from Rev. C. W. Pruitt, Hwang- 
hien, China, also bears on the same point: 

"One day, when talking with me about the expression, 'dry- 
rot of missions,' Dr. Yates said that he was not thinking at 
all of Baptist work in China, but of Pedo-Baptist methods. 
He strongly contended that our Baptist missionaries were not 
guilty of the blunders which he had in mind when he used the 

Yates The Missionary. 28g 

Shanghai, October 20, 1887. 
To a Niece: 

My Dear Pet: What an ado you all make about my going 
home. You talk as if it were an easy matter. Why, do you 
not know that the great globe is between us, and that it is 
no small matter to go from China to Raleigh, to say nothing 
of the expense? I received your invitation to go home for a 
rest in July, a week or two after I was cut down by partial 
paralysis. One-half of me would not obey me. At that time, 
and for some time afterward, I was not able to go. Little by 
little I became able to walk. Now I can walk a mile; but it 
is not natural. I am weakened all over, and can fall down as 
easy as falling ofi a log. I have preached for two Sundays 
since we came back from Chefoo, but I was used Dp by it. I 
am not fit for work. 

Were I to go to the States, every preacher in the land would 
want me to address or preach to his people. And, seeing me 
look stout and strong, they would laugh at the idea of my not 
being able to do it. They would not take no for an answer. 
The only way I could get rid of them would be to insult them; 
and that I would not do. So you see I am afraid of my friends. 
And what home have I in this world but this in Shanghai in 
winter and Chefoo in summer? Here I can command my time 
and have no one to tease me to do what I am not able to do. 
I am required to keep quiet, as I am liable to another stroke 
of paralysis, and this might be fatal. 

If I get well enough to work and hold on for another year. 
I shall not go to the States; for the bottom is droppmg out of 
our Missions. Davault died the 4th inst. ; Joiner must go home 
this winter. Ur. and Mrs. Graves, of Canton, go home in the 
spring; Miss Moon and Dr. Yates are invited to go home. 
Ihat looks like breaking up our Missions. And we see nothing 
of any reinforcements to take the places of those who must go. 
Now, can you not see how difficult it is for me to leave Shang- 
hai? And that is all that I can tell you about my going home 
soon. Moreover, I have no home in America to go to. There 
are forty-nine reasons why I ought to stay at home. For I am 

290 Yates The Missionary. 

old now, yoii know, and need a great deal of nursing and pet- 
ing. Much love to you, my dearest pet. 

Shanghai, October 20, 1887. 
In view of the necessity for more men at Chinkiang, I pro- 
pose to waive my salary, in order that another man may be 
sent out as soon as practicable. And may the Lord add his 
blessing. It will be my meat and drink, as the Lord gives me 
strength to labor as an unpaid missionary of the Board. I 
cheerfully lay my salary on the altar of the Lord, and pray that 
he will soon send me a sound and consecrated man who will 
be ready to work, and, if necessary, to suffer for his glory. 

Shanghai, October 21, 1887. 

Great care should be taken not to send out men or women 
with defective constitutions. A word to the wise is sufficient. 
If a man be doubtful, let him work at home. Theie is much 
work needed in each State to create and keep ali\e the mis- 
sionary spirit. 

The Recorder says that I am well of my paralysis — on what 
authority, I know not. I only know that it is not true. The 
weakness now extends to my whole body. I can walk, but 
only with labor and discomfort. I have preached for two Sab- 
baths, but was exhausted by it. If this winter shall lestore my 
strength, I shall remain at my post for another year's work. If 
not, I may go to the States. This will remain an open question 
till January 8th, when I enter upon my threescore an--] ten. 

At the meeting of the State Convention, in Durham, 
N. C, in November, 1887, more than a thousand dollars 
were raised to complete the amoimt necessary for the 
erection of the dwelling house in Chinkiang The tele- 
gram announcing the success of this effort carrifd, one 
of his young colleagues wrote, joy to the heart of the 
veteran missionary. Work upon the building was im- 
mediately begun. While this matter was and^r dis- 
cussion, the Convention was addressed by the venerable 
Mr. G. W. Thompson, Dr. Yates' former teacher. Im- 
mediately after the desired sum had been secured by 
a rising vote, it was 

Yates The Missionary. 291 

Resolved, that, in the opinion of this Convention, all the Bap- 
tists of North Carolina earnestly desire that Dr. Yates should 
pay an extended visit to his native land, rest from his labors, 
and see his brethren once more before he finishes his work. 

Shanghai, December 17, 1887. 
My inability to get about is improving a little since cool 
weather came on. My palsied limbs, however, will not allow 
me to attempt work. It is a great trial to be denied the priv- 
ilege of working when there is so much to be done. 

Shanghai, December 30, 1887. 
To his Sister: 

I am not able to go home now if I were ready. While I 
present the appearance of an overgrown old man in perfect 
health, I cannot walk well. The effects of that paralvtic stroke 
still cling to me. I have a good appetite and sleep well, but 
still I am a bad invalid, good for nothing but to be turned 

out to grass. W will know what that means. Now this 

is the truth about me. The doctor is giving me strong medi- 
cine, and says I am doing well. I hope to pull through, but 

then I cannot tell. 

Shanghai, January 30, 1888. 

As I had in good faith waived my salary that a man might 
be sent out to preach for me at Chinkiang, and as I was ex- 
pecting to hear by every mail that he would soon be here, I 
felt under obligations to provide a home for him. But, alas, 
your postscript, '"The Board could not accept your generous 
offer to waive salary," dashed all my hopes and disconcerted 
all my plans. My only desire was to advance Christ's kingdom 
in Central China. To do this, I was willing to make a sacri- 
fice. I had it in my heart to duplicate myself and lay it all at 
Jesus' feet. Well, the offer to pay my salary to a new man for 
Chinkiang still stands good when the man comes to claim it. 

February i. — I have to-day, by the blessing of God, com- 
pleted my review of my translation of the Epistles into the 

Shanghai dialect. 

Shanghai, February 3, 1888. 
From Mrs. Yates: 

My husband is better, and walks without stumbling, although 

292 Yates The Missionary. 

not with his wonted elasticity and endurance. He looks re- 
markly well, and eats and sleeps like a laborer. Yet he is not 
like his old self. 

I hope that the Board will accept his offer to give up his 
salary. It is not a new thought with either of us. It has been 
my heart's desire, these many years, to be self-supporting, and 
now, as we are fully able to be so, I hope that you will appro- 
priate our allowance to a new man for Chinkiang. 

You know that during the American war we were thrown 
upon our own resources, without much expectation of being 
again connected with a Mission Board. My husband had no 
difficulty in earning more than enough for our support. Those 
savings, added to a small inheritance from my father, were in- 
vested in building lots. These have so risen in value that the 
income from them is ample for all our wants. 

Shanghai, February 2, il 
To the Recorder: 

I shall not be at the Convention in May nor at Wake Forest 
in June. I expect to be at my bungalow on the hill by the sea. 
I may be writing my alumni address for 1889 (?) If not, I 
shall certainly be thinking about it. For it is in my heart to 
inaugurate a new departure for Wake Forest, one in which 
every alumnus of the dear old college shall be enlisted. And. 
as the result of it, every boy in North Carolina who desires, 
and has the brain to take an education, shall be enabled to 
realize the desire of his heart. 

Now, is not this a big thing? Let us pray for it. 

It is not unlikely that other letters were written b> 
Dr. Yates during the two weeks before his second strok-: 
01 paralysis. But no others have revealed theniselvet 
:n the several quarters which have furnish c'd n.aterials 
for this story. 

The foregoing letter may be accepted, therefore, as 
his last message to his brethren in North Carolina. The 
noble desire tliat every young man in his native Stati 
v^hotiid have a chance for an education was i-'ie la.-t wish 
that he communicated to his brethren at home. 

Through many years of faithful toil, throvifh dangers 

Yates The Missionary. 293 

rnd vicissitudes, through disappointments a"d tr.-nmphs, 
the career of our missionary here has been traced. And 
now the end is near. Fortunately, there are letters 
vvhich, in accordance with the plan hitheiro prtrsueH, 
will tell the story to its close. The first is from Rev. 
R. T. Brvan. 

Chinkiang, Marcb 26, 1888. 
To the Recorder: 

I am afraid that Dr. Yates overtaxed himself with the new 
house, planning, buying, and instructing me and the carpenters. 
Just four weeks before his death he came up here again to help 
me about the house. He arrived about midnight of February 
i8th, and seemed very tired. 

The next morning I heard a heavy fall, and, on running into 
his room, I found him lying on the floor. He was stunned by 
the fall, and was unable to see. He told us that when he waked 
up, he felt that the bed was turning over with him, and, in his 
efforts to stay on, he fell off. The side of his head, which he 
had struck in falling, remained paralyzed until his death. He 
remained with us through the week, and on the 25th he re- 
turned to Shanghai. During this week he told me and the 
builder many things about the house. 

After another week, 1 went down to see him. It was evident 
that he was sinking. One day, while rubbing his aching foot, 
I looked up and saw tears running down his cheeks, then he 
sobbed a few times. I wiped away the tears, and he said: "So 
much work, and I can't do any of it." I said, "God can have 
it done." He replied, "But God needs men." 

Shall these tears be disregarded? 

In a subsequent letter, Mr. Bryan wrote: 

His religion, like the man, was not of the fussy kind, showing 
itself in words. It was practical, showing itself in action and 
in an abiding trust in God. He came up to Chinkiang to see 
us and help us a short time before he died. During the night 
of his arrival he had a paralytic stroke. He knew that the end 
was approaching, and God seemed to be more precious to him 
than ever before. He had passed beyond the fatherhood idea 

294 Yates The Missionary. 

of God, and thought of him as a mother. All day long he 
would repeat Isaiah 66: 13, "As one whom his mother com- 
forteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in 

The end came on the afternoon of March 17th. The 
t'.vo letters of Mrs. Yates which teU of the last days and 
Iiours were written, the first to a niece, and the second 
to a sister of her husband. 

Shanghai, March 14, 1888. 

Your uncle continues in the same helpless state. Sometimes 
he seems more comfortable, but as to any real improvement, 
we cannot yet see it. He sleeps a good deal, sometimes mostly 
in the day time, and then his nights are wakeful. Of course 
you can see that it takes all my time and strength to minister 
to him. My strength has held out surprisingly. Friends are 
very kind in offering to help. He likes some one to read the 
papers to him, and can read a little while for himself when 
the pain is less. I know you would do everything for him most 
willingly, but he will never see his native land again. 

Shanghai, April 8, li 
It was his intention to go to see you all and the churches 
this year, but I have felt that it was very doubtful, ever since 
ihe first attack of paralysis last summer. He never fully re- 
covered the use of the left side, although, for awhile, he was 
very much better. He had to give up preaching almost alto- 
gether; but two objects occupied his mind constantly, the com- 
pletion of the translation of the New Testament and a house 
for Mr. Bryan. Both of these he lived to see accomplished. 

He went to Chinkiang to set the builders to work on the 
house, and whilst there the second stroke of paralysis fell upon 
him, and Mr. Herring went up and brought him home. He 
did not think it was paralysis; he supposed it was owing to 
vertigo, and always spoke of it as vertigo up to the last day or 
two. Then he asked me whether the doctor was treating him 
for vertigo or for paralysis, and I said, "I think the medicines 
are for paralysis, I know that some of them are." After that 
he did not refer to it again. 

Yates The Missionary. 295 

He suffered intensely those last three weeks, when awake, 
but it was a blessing that he slept most of the time. When 
awake, he was sometimes quite cheerful, and talked with his 
usual, strong voice. Even on the Friday night preceding his 
death, he sat on a chair while his bed was made up. Mr. Her- 
ring and a faithful Chinese servant were helping to make every- 
thing comfortable, and at half-past nine o'clock, whilst he still 
sat in the arm-chair Mr. Herring insisted that I should go to 
bed so as to get some sleep, and said that he would stay and 
see him comfortably settled in bed. Hearing this, your brother 
said to me, "Yes, come and kiss me good-night, and go to bed." 

None of us thought that the end w-as at hand. The doctor 
has said since that he had no expectation of it, that he sup- 
posed that he might live through the year or, at the very least, 
some months longer, and I was thinking that he would last a 
long time, perhaps years, and was trying to make my strength 
hold out for an indefinite period. 

The next morning at three o'clock, the man calK-d me, and 
I found your brother awake, and in much pain. I gave him a 
little brandy, and smoothed his pillows, and he seemed more 
comfortable, and told me to go back to bed; but I did not go. 
I sat by him, and he slept for an hour or more; then u hemor- 
rhage began. Mr. Herring lives in the next house: I sent for 
him and for the doctor and for Annie and Mr. Seaman, for I 
saw that he was very ill. Still his voice was strong, and, when 
he took water or beef juice, he would raise himself uv to drink, 
by pulling some one's hand. It was about ten o'clock when Mr. 
Seaman helped him in this way, and said to him, "You are very 
strong," and he answered, "Yes, I could pull you down on the 
bed now!" But the hemorrhage weakened him rapidly, and 
he slept almost continuously. 

There had been a great deal of pain in his head, and he liked 
to have it brushed. 

Once, that morning, Mr. Herring took the brush and began, 
but he said, "Mother or Annie will do it best." (He almost 
always called me "mother.") 

This was the last time that he appeared to notice us, or. 
indeed, any one. He slept on till a little after five o'clock that 

296 Yates The Missionary. 

i-fternoon, and simply ceased to breathe. There was no strug- 
gle, no pain, in those last hours. There were no farewell words, 
no messages. I doubt if he knew he was going; but he had said 
weeks before that he was ready; that he would like 10 do more 
work, but the Lord knew best. 

I will not try to tell you of my own feelings, of the deep 
regret felt by others, and of the great crowd of Chinese mourn- 
ers that followed him to the grave. I have had letters of 
sympathy from friends far and near, and full of the warmest 
expressions of admiration and regret for your brother. He 
was greatly respected and loved by all denominatioiis. Every- 
one has been kind, and I have found that, while sympathy can- 
rot remove sorrow, still it does help us to bear it. 

Shanghai, March 21, 1888. 
From Rev. D. W. Herring to the Recorder: 

Dr. Yates was buried on the afternoon of March 19th. The 
services were conducted by Dr. Gulick, Dr. Thompson, Pastor 
Wong, and myself. A host of his friends — and no man here 
had more than he — were assembled on that beautiful spring day. 

After going twice around the w^orld, and up and down this 
great Empire, and through typhoons and shipwrecks, and 
through the dangers of two wars, he has left his body to lie 
here in this cemetery w'hich he, more than any other man, had 
made a place of beauty. 

He said to me only a few days ago: 'The people at home want 
men to die on the field, and I am going to lay the foundation." 

The first, under our Board, to come to the Central China 
Mission, he w-as allowed to stand by it until now. He has 
watched over it, prayed for it, toiled in it, wnth how much care 
no one can imagine, from its birth to its present ho^ eful state. 

The church here has lost a father in the gospel, and its mem- 
bers have wept over his departure. Many, seeing i>, have re- 
marked: "How they loved him!" Yet he had always held up 
Christ, and not himself, as the object of their love. 

There has been only One who could say: "It is finished." 
But there have been few men who have approached more 
nearly to the completion of their life work. He had on hand 
his translation of the New Testament and the completion of 

Yates The Missionary. 297 

the house in Chinkiang. The first thousand copies of the former 
were deHvered at the chapel as his body was borne from his 
house; the latter is well under way, and he left full di-ections for 
its completion. 

Shanghai, 1888. 
From Pastor Wong Ping San: 

Our believing and being saved and what we have been able 
to do for Christ's cause, is all through Pastor Yates' instruction 
and exhortation. The time since his arrival in Snanghai is 
forty-one years. As a man he was faithful and true; as a 
preacher he was clear, and all men delighted to hear him. He 
treated the disciples as his children; therefore they honored 
him as a father. He toiled for the Master, and spared not his 
own money. He established churches at Quinsan Soochow, 
and Chinkiang. For more than a decade of years he has had 
no time to rest. Laying here the foundations of he Lord's 
cause, the work has fallen on him, one man. His years being 
many, his strength failed. Last year, taking his sickness along 
with him, he proceeded with the Translation of the Scriptures, 
forgetting that he was sick. 

Of us, the members of this church, there is not one who is 

not wounded and grieved at heart. His words of exhortation 

and prohibition, always timely-, have been of immense benefit 

to us, and we cannot forget him. 

Yokohama, April 26, 1888. 

From Mrs. Yates: 

His last days were full of intense sufifering, yet none of us. 
not even the doctor, thought that the end was so near. His 
voice was strong to the last. We were planning to go to 
Chefoo as soon as he should have more use of his lower limbs. 
Several times he said to us: "Just think! I shall have nothing 
to do but rest for six months." He took great comfort in hav- 
ing put the whole New Testament through the press— except 
Revelation, and this he intended to translate after returning 
from Chefoo. 

He said that he was ready for the Master's call but hoped 
that the Lord would give him a few more years to work. 

298 Yates The Missionary. 

Chinkiang, May 7, i 
Rev. R. T. Bryan: 

Yes. our father is dead. He truly loved us, and we truly 
loved him, and always called him father. Our children sat on 
his knee and called him grandfather. We felt thac we had a 
home at Shanghai with "welcome" written over the door. 

When Brother Herring and I arrived, he did not say: "This 
is my field; you go and make your own fields, as I have done." 
But by his actions he said: "My children, here are your homes, 
your chapels, and your work; come in and help youi father." 

He spent a week with us about a month before his death. 
While he was sick, he frequently spoke of his own exceeding 
sinfulness, and of God's great mercy. He said: "I am ready 
to go if God wants me. I should like to live and work longer, 
but I am ready to die." 
From Rev. W. J. Hunnex: 

In many Chinese homes there is sorrow as deep and real 
as that which is felt in the homes of Southern Baptists. No 
foreigner has been better known or more warmly loved by the 
Chinese than the man over whose death they and we are mourn- 
ing together. 

But of all the numerous expressions of esteem an J 
sorrow uttered and written in America or China^ there 
is none more beautiful in its simplicity, or more touch- 
mg in its manifest sincerity, than this single sentence 
from the church in Shanghai: 

''We have lost our good shepherd, and the flock is 


Yates The Missionary. 2QQ 




The year 1897 has been a real jubilee year in China. We 
have had several celebrations in Shanghai, and hear of more in 
other places. 

We have also had the celebration of the ninetieth year of 
mission work in China. 

It encourages us to work more earnestly for God and to 
trust him more, when we find that ninety years of mission 
work have opened all the doors, overcome many of the worst 
difficulties, prepared the way for future victories, and given 
us more than two thousand missionaries and nearly one hun- 
dred thousand native Christians. 


September 12, 1847, the first missionaries of our Board, Dr. 
and Mrs. Yates, arrived in Shanghai. Brethren Shuck and 
Toby, with their wives, soon followed. 

November 6, 1847, the Shanghai Baptist Church was organ- 
ized with six foreign missionaries and two native evangelists 
from Canton. 

Saturday, November 6, 1897, we celebrated the fiftieth year 
of our church. Appropriate songs had been selected before- 
hand and carefully practiced. A very happy audience met at 
ten o'clock to sit down in the midst of beautiful scrolls and 
flowers to sing, "Blow ye the trumpet, blow." 

The principal feature of the day was the history of the 
church, which had been carefully prepared by our secretary, 
Brother Wong Sing San. He was one hour reading it. but 
its many Interesting facts kept us from getting tired. 

3^0 Yates The Missionary. 

The first ten found us with twenty-four members, six 
more than the Rangoon Baptist Church after ten years of work. 

Many of the Shanghai native pastors and preachers were 
present to congratulate us on this jubilee occasion. 

In the afternoon more than one hundred children met to 
celebrate the first decade of the Sunday school. The sec- 
ictary, Brother Zie Wei Tsung, read a short history of the 
Sunday school, and the children sang and recited many ap- 
propriate texts of Scripture. This meeting was even more in- 
teresting than the morning meeting. 

We had previously arranged to have a mission meeting and 
an associational meeting in connection with the jubilee. 

Brother Britten preached the associational sermon at eleven 
o'clock on Sunday to a large audience. He never fails to 
preach a good sermon in English, but I believe that he is even 
better when preaching in Chinese. 

Monday morning the Association was organized, and the 
Chinki;ang and Yang Chow Baptist churches were received as 

The principal business of the Association was to hear the 
reports of the School Committee and the Home Mission 

The School Committee reported the two schools in good 
condition with money enough to pay all expenses for this 
year. The committee was greatly enlarged and changed to a 
Board of Trustees. 

The Home Mission Board was also enlarged and decided to 
send a native preacher to Quinsan, and a Bible woman to 
Shanghai. We feel very much encouraged over this advanced 
move. Pray with us that it may be the small beginning of 
great things in China! 

It is a good time after fifty years of work to ask the question, 


In the first place, it might be best to ask what efforts we 
have made? We have given money, but much less than we 
ought to have given. We have prayed, but not as earnestly 
as we should have done. We have sent out men and women, 
but for nearly twenty years one man and wife labored alone in 
Shanghai. Such have been our efforts that we would not have 

Yates The Missionary. 301 

a right to complain even if very small results had been accom- 


The one station has increased to four, with a number of 
out-stations. The six missionaries have increased to thirteen, 
and the two native Christians from Canton have increased to 
one hundred and twenty-five in Central China. 

Looking beyond Central China th-" one mission has increased 
to three, Central China, Northern China, and the Gospel Mis- 
sion, the three having nearly forty missionaries. So that the 
six missionaries who began the Central China Mission have 
really increased to forty, because these other missions grew 
out of the Central China Mission. 

We feel that the results have far surpassed our efforts. So 
wo praise God for the past, and pray him to bless us and use 
us in the future. We are full of hope. 





Abscess appears 194, 215 

Academy life of Yates ^3, 24' 

Acceptance by Board, Yates' 35 

Anesthetic. Rapid breathing an... 238 

Ancestral Worship ..189, 204 

Angell, President J. B.. quoted ... 251 
Anglo- French War with Cliina... 143 

Appeal for Helpers 

183, 249,250,276, 283 

Ariel, Wreck of.. 119 ff 

Armstrong, Rev. Thos 10, 11 

Ashburton, Voyage of the. 41, 42 

Association, The Hiang Cheh.230, 247 

Austrian Consul. The 47 

Baptism. First in Shanghai.. 77 

Of first Chinese Woman 108 

Of Yates 14 

Beginnings in Shanghai, Y'ates".. 203 

Biblical Recorder 269 

Blaclv Cat Rumors 185 

Board, Foreign Mission ..131, 132 

Objections to, answered 

132 ff, 285-288 

Boone, Bishop 47, 49, 151 

Boyce, Rev. J. P., Letter to. 226 

Bravado successful 76 

Brooks, Rev. W. T., Message to... 213 
Brush Arbor, Yates' Worship in.. 22 

Bryan, Rev. R. T 264, 266 

Quoted.. 168. 242, 286-288. 293, 298 

Burial of Yates 296 

Burlingame Treatv 234 

Cabaniss, Rev. A. B 63, 93 

Camp Meeting 13 

Central Association 39 

Central China, Plans to Occupy, 

210 ff. 223, 243 

Chang, the Giant.... 184 

Chapel, Y'^ates', in Shanghai 

181, 182, 188 

Chefoo, Visits to 

215. 235, 244, 245, 562, 266. 267, 270, 271 
Children, Chinese, Taught Idol. 

atry 223, 224 

Religious Training of 11, 110 

China Characterized 161 

Opened to Missionaries 

157,263, 264 

Chinese Character 204. 205 

Cook. A 49 

Curiosity 71 

Depravity of .246,259-262 

Education 227 

Idolatrv of 263 

Land Titles 236 

Lansuage 54 ff. 199 

Yates' First Lessons in. 52, 53 

New Year 213,214. 231 

Opposition to Foreigners. .59, 69 


Public Speaking of 242, 243 

Singing of 244. 245 

Super-tition 204 

Unfit Citizens for United 

States 228, 234 

Women. Liberalitv of 229 

Chinkiang ....211, 238, 2o2. 253, 258, 261, 
263, 267. 268, 276. 278, 280, 281, 290, 294 

Cholera, Chinese Treatment of 146 

Church, Training of a 160 

Chusan Islands 119 

Cillev. Mr.. Kindness of 41 

Civil" War in United States ....144, 145 
Comfort of Missionaries Desira- 
ble.. 239. 253,276 

Conference, Missionarv, in Shang- 
hai "188, 189. 190, 191 

Conference, Missionary, Records 

of 193 

Cone, Rev. S. H 41 

Consecration of Self to Ministry, 

Yates' 27 

Convention, North C'rolina Bap- 
tist 37. 129, 186. 264. 290 

Convention, Southern Baptist. 32, 131, 
135, 136, 195, 196, 200, 252, 261, 282 

Conversion. Yates" 14 

Crawford. Rev. T. P 129, 151 

Crawford. Mrs. T. P. 119 ff 

Daniel, Rev. R. T 10 

Dean, Rev. Dr.. quoted ..47, 230 

Death of Yates 296 

Death of Young Chinese Woman.. 198 

Depravitv of Chinese 246, 259, 262 

Devault, Rev. E. E 271 

Dickinson. Rev. A. E., Letters to. 248-9 

Dictionary Making .101, 104 

Doctor of Divinitv, Yates Made... 164 

Dowd. Rev. P. W" 13, 18, 23. 28 

Letter to... 193 

Durham (N. C.) Baptist Church, 

Liberality of 188 

Earlv Education of Y'ates. 9 

Edeiiton Bap. Miss. Soc, Letter to 262 

Education. Importance of 

156. 157. 158, 219 

Education. Yates' Desire for 22 

Encvclopedia, Baptist 236 

Eureka. Voyage on the .139 ff 

Europe. Visit of Yates to 176 

Eyesight, Yates' Impaired.. 56, 76, 80 

Famine at Shanghai 70, 76 

Female Education 105 

Fields, Miss, Quoted 244 

Financier. Yates as a 154 

F"'irst Preaching of Yates at Shang- 
hai 57, 66 

First Efforts of Yates in Public... 18 




Flat River Association 277 

FlemiiiK. Mr. John 24 

Foot-biiidinu: 225, 249 

Found:itioii-la3in>j; -.-117. 162 

Franco-Chinese War.. 246, 255, 258, 261 

Freeman. Mr.. Letter tO- 253 

Fruit-tree^ Sent to Vales 215, 251 

Funeral of Yates 296 

"Fung-shui" 61, 281 

Geneva, Yates in --152, 153 

"Go-down " (warehouse) 57, 60 

Graves. Rev. R. H., Quoted. 105, 148, 241 
Greensboro (X. C.) Young Ladies, 

Letter Irom Mrs. Yates tO- 265 

" Hanliu " 73, 74 

Hatcher. Rev. W. E., Resolutions by 252 

Heat at Shanghai 200.201. 229 

Heightof Yates 167, 168 

Herring. Rev. D. W.--.249, 264, 266, 269 

Letter from Yates to 2c9 

Letter from... 296 

Hiang Cheh Association 230, 247 

Hollow Tree, a Place of Prayer-.- 24 

"Home." Yates' ^-,155, 289 

Hoiigkong --- - 42 

Hunnex, Rev. W.J 

- 252.2.13,261,262,281. 298 

Idolatry of Chinese 263 

Taught to Children 223, 224 

Idols as Curiosities 90 

Described -187, 188 

Immersion, Impressive upon Chi- 
nese -- -- 162 

Indemnity for Mission Secured-94. 109 

Interpreter, Yates an 147, 150, 186 

Yates Resigns Position 191 

Jatnes, Rev. J. J.. Letter to 105 

James, Dr. J. S.- - 40, 64 

Japan as a Mission Field 254 

Jeter, Rev. J. B., quoted 189, 190 

Johnson. Rev. Frank ...40, 67 

Jubilee Year in China and Shang- 
hai 299 

Judson. Rev. A 190 

Judson, Memoir of Mrs 33 

Justice, Mr. David 225 

Kiaw-hwo-dong..l08, 111. 116, 117, 142 

Kitchen god 85 

Kong-say-dong 60, 66, 83 

Kwinsan Church Organized - 212 

Lambuth, Rev. W.R., quoted. 55. 98, 247 

Landowner. Yates as a 253, 292 

Lane. Dr. J. H . 29, 30 

Language, Yiites' Proficiencv in.. 83 

Langford. Mr. Menalcus "---30, 176 

Lieu, Interview with.. 91 

Lightning Striking Tree 12 

Li Hung Chang 263 

Lockhart. Dr. 83 

Manchuria. Visit to 165, 169 

Mandarin Language Acquired 141 

Mangum. Hon. W. P 154 

Marriage of Yates 36 

Marshall. Hon. Humphrev 90 

Mateer, Rev. C. W \ 189 


Meredith, Rev. Thomas- -.. 

28. 37. 64, 65, 67, 7G, 126 

Methods of Mission Work 
131 ff. 217-219. 258. 267. 268. 2"83-285. 288 

Method of Work in Shanghai 68. 72 

M nisterial Education. Yates' Aid 

to . 179, 180 

Mission Premises at Shanghai ..82, 108 
Missions. Principles of Modern.2t8.209 
Missionary Impressions. Yates' 

First 26 

Missionaries. Medical 234 

Qualifications for 

214, 234. 235, 237, 238, 239. 240, 290 

Missionary Am. Baptist Union 41 

Mississippi, Visit to. 131 

Moring. .Miss Eliza E 36 

Morrison. Robert 43 

Motto, Yates" 241 

Mt. Pisgah Church... 13, 17. 25. 37 

Muirhead. R v. \Vm...l47, 151. 189. 268 

Mumford, Mrs. 153 

Municipal Council of Shanghai. 147,151 

Music Teacher, Y'ates a .- 32 

Nabob. Voyage on the 124. 125 

Narrow Escapes, Yates' 95 ff 

Native Chinese Preachers..- 207 

Negro Frightened (anecdote) 24 

NewTestamentTranslatioP, 186.1 99,217, 
233, 241. 242. 275. 280. 291. 294. 296, 297 

Norris, Mr. S. P., Letter to 109 

North Carolina Baptists and Mis- 
sions 39 

Oak Tree as Place of Worship, 12, 19. 24 

O'Brvan. Rev. S. C. 34, 53 

Old-field School 9, 22 

Oo-kah-jach. Station at . 81 

Operations Surgical, required 

-...215. 219, 227, 230, 231, 232, 256, 257 

Opium War 59 

Opposition of Chinese to Foreign- 
ers .-- 59, 69 

Osborne. Rev. James... 38 

Overworked, Yates is 165 

Panics in Shanghai 88 

Paralysis, Yates threatened with . 

270,279,290. 291 

Fatal Stroke of.- 293 

Parents, Death of Yates' 156 

Pastors of the South. Address to, 157-58 

Pastors. Responsibility of 114 

Paris. Yates' visit to .'. - 177 

P'ayTsz Oo.... 212,220. 222 

Pearcy. Rev. George 63. 67 

Penetration of Character. Yates'. 148-49 

Philadelphia Visited 40 

Physique of Yates 168. 169. 240 

Poindexter. Rev. A. M.. Letters to,137-8 

Poland. Kindness of Mr 41 

Poteat. Prof. W. L., Letter to. .247. 248 

Prayer. Yates' First 12 

Preaching, Yates', characterized. 162-3 
Kind of. Needed in China.. 162-3 

Prichard. Rev. J. L 27 

Prichard. Rev. R. S .-.170-172 



Pritchard. Rev. T. H..189, 195, 199, 242 
Professorship iu Chinese Lan- 
guage - 1 29 ff 

Progress Made in First 30 Years .. 192 

Pruitt, Rev. C. W., quoted 288 

Purefov. Rev. James S. ....32, 247, 248 

Purefoy, Rev. John 10,247 

Quiusan, Station and Church 

174. 177. 185, 196, 197, 199-202 

Raleigh Associa tioii 

39, 66. 85, 105, 110, 127, 186, 277 

Raleigh, Lectures iu 126 

Rebel Proclamation 104 

Reese, J. J. T.. Letter to .232, 233 

Regulations for Mission Discussed 114 

Religious Experience of Yates 10 ff 

Religious Herald 269 

Reminiscences, Yates' 222 

Results to 1897 300, 301 

Richmond College. Gifts to 275 

Riot in Shanghai 180 

Rohrer, Rev. J. Q. A 136 

Rvland. Rev. C. H... 136,251. 252 

Salary, Yates' 119 

Salary Waived by Yates 290 

Salaries of Missionaries. ..137, 138, 287 

Sandy Creek Association 128 

School, a Chinese 86 

School. Mrs. Yates'... .184, 223-225, 2t9 
Schoo s V. Preaching in China, 237. 238 

Seal, Yates' '. 241 

Seaman, Mrs. A., quoted 288 

Sears. Voyage on the 42 

See Seen Sang 185 

SeeT'ay San 197. 199,212 

Self-support in Missions 190, 257 

Serainarv, S. B. Theo., Miss. Soc, 

letterto 199 

Seminarv, S. B. Theo., gifts to 

-■ ...226. 275. 278 

Shanghai 43. 45, 46, 54 

Shanghai Bap.Church. 143. 159, 173. 179, 
180, 186. 188, 200. 202, 208, 214-5, 298-300 

Shanghai Taken by Rebels 90 

Shanghai, Work Begun in 46 

Shentsz (mule litter) 255 

Shuck. Rev. J. L .40, 42, 56, 61. 66 

Shuck. Death of Mrs 83 

Silk District Visited.... 113 

Skinner. Rev. T. E.. quoted 

....127. 147, 1.52. 153, 163, 172. 270. 271 

Snakes. Strutrgle of the 15 

Solomon, Rev. J. B .31, 37. 55 

Soochow 211. 

212. 220, 231, 233, 235, 236, 244, 247, 278 

Spaulding, Rev. Dr 44 

Standard for Church Membership 

in Shanghai .268, 269 

Statesman. Yates a 210 

Storm at Sea 42 

Stradley. Rev. Thos.. 129 

Student Life at Wake Forest Col- 
lege 29tr 

Success in China... 248 

Suez Canal 156 

Sunday School at Mount Pisgah 
Church 17 

Sung-way-dong... 83. 108. 116, 117, 145 
Surgical Operations Required 

....215, 219, 227, 230, 231, 232, 256. 257 

Svle, Rev. Dr 44,48.49.51. 52 

Tai-piug Rebellion 88 ff. 141 

Taotai, Escape of the 92 

I aylor. Rev. J. B ..32, 34, 37 

Teacher. Yates' Chinese 51 

Testament. Mission of a 78 

Theological Class Taught by 

Yates 233,242. 280 

Thomas, Mrs. A.. Letter to 178 

Thomas. Rev. J. A. W 29 

Thompson, G. W 23-26,28, 290 

Throat Trouble. Yates' Early 30 

Tien-tsin Treatv 143 

Tobev. Rev. T. \V 40. 52, 56 

'Letters to 83.84, 104. 114 

Tracts, Use of 68. 112 

Traininir of Yonng Christians. 20, 21 
Translation of New Testament. 186.199, 

217, 233. 241. 242. 275. 280, 291, 294. 296-7 

Tungchow Mission Visited 255, 2.56 

Tupper. Rev. H. A., quoted 36 

•Two Friends, The" 94, 112. 196 

Typhoons .70, 119 

Vice-Consulship Accepted.. 180 

Resigned 182 

Voice, Failure of Yates' 

..164 ff. 173, 174. 178 

Restored 182 

Waddt'Il, Capt. James 152 

Wait, Prest. Samuel 27, 28, 32, 65 

Wake Forest 23 

Wake Forest Academv 23, 24 

Wake Forest College 28.29. 39, 

116. 164, 247, 2.56, 264, 272. 273. 283. 292 

Wake Union Church. 29 

Walker, Rev. W. S..53, 232. 235,250, 263 

Walters, Rev. W, T., letter to 116 

Wenli 74 

White. Prof. J. B 32. 33. 35 

Williams. Mr. John C 210 

Willingham, Rev. R. J., quoted. .. 

: 40. 118, 172. 173, 179 

Wilson, Rev. J. C 219 

Wilson. Mr. S. 215 

Wingate. Rev. W. M 129 

'• Wfmans' Work in China," edited 

by Mrs. Yates 226 

Wong Pinir San(i)astor). ..142, 165. 167, 

175, 179. 185, 198. 2U6. 207, 225. 296, 300 
Wong Yih San (deacon) 

142, 230,272,274, 278 

Wreck of the Ariel 119 ff 

Yah-djaw-loong 48. 52, 53 

Yangtse River 45. 46, 187 

Yates. Mrs. E. M., letters of. 42. 80. 86. 

177, 192. 224. 225. 229. 231. 293, 294. 297 

Visits to United States 216, 

221, 249, 250, 259, 265, 285, 286 

Yong Seen San 40 

Younsr Converts to be Trained 21