Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/113

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65
THE ISLAND OF FORMOSA

rulers, to which the people conformed. And finally there was no translation of the Bible, in whole or part, left in the hands of the people. A translation of the Gospel according to Matthew had been made, and an edition was printed in Holland, but news came of the expulsion of the Dutch, and the books were not sent out. These books were printed in Roman letters, which the missionaries taught the people to read and write. It is an interesting fact that this is the part of their work that survived longest. For at least a century and a half the people retained the knowledge of reading and writing their native languages. Deeds are still in existence belonging to the early part of last century, written in duplicate, in Chinese on one side and Romanised on the other, the Roman letters recording what is now a dead language. Most of the semi-civilised tribes living in the plain country have acquired Chinese and forgotten their own language. When missionary work was resumed in Formosa, two centuries after the Dutch had left, these writings were almost the only trace left of the labours of the earlier workers. In addition there lingered among some tribes the tradition of a nation of kind foreigners, non-Chinese, who had once lived in the island, and who on leaving had promised some day to return for the deliverance of the people.

Missions.—In 1865 Dr. James L. Maxwell commenced the work of the English Presbyterian Church in Formosa. The Roman Catholic Church had begun Mission work some years earlier, and have carried it on continuously till the present time. Their staff of foreign missionaries is smaller than those of the two Protestant Missions combined, and their work does not appear to be very extensive or very popular with the people. Happily there has been very little friction between the two Missions.

Dr. Maxwell began work, medical and evangelistic, at Taiwanfu (now Tainan), but was soon driven by a mob to take refuge in Takow, a treaty port 30 miles to the south. There, on August 12, 1866, the first converts of the Mission

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