Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/299

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THE PROVINCE OF SZECHWAN

travelled up the Yangtse, entered Szechwan, and visited many of the most important towns and markets, including the capital, returning to Hankow viâ Shensi and down the Han river. This journey may be termed a "Prospecting Trip," for no attempt seems to have been made to settle in any of the many cities or towns visited. The report of this journey doubtless was instrumental in calling attention to this vast unopened field, and the London Mission, even at that early period, had serious thoughts of opening work in Szechwan. No other missionaries, as far as we know, visited this province again till the year 1877, when the Rev. John M'Carthy of the China Inland Mission, after landing at Wanhsien, travelled overland, viâ Shuenking Fu to Chungking, which place he reached on 1st May of that year.

II. Pioneer Period.—Settled Mission work dates from the year 1877, when premises were rented by the China Inland Mission in Chungking. After this we are told "there followed a period of widespread evangelistic journeys, in which Messrs. Cameron, Nicoll, Easton, Parker, Riley, S. R. Clarke, and Bailer, all of the China Inland Mission, with Mr. Leeman of the American Presbyterian Mission, and Mr. Mollman of the British and Foreign Bible Society, engaged."

In the year 1881 the American Methodist Episcopal Mission joined the China Inland Mission in pioneer work in this province by renting premises at Chungking. In 1881 the China Inland Mission opened the capital, Chengtu, for settled work. Paoning and Pacheo were, after considerable difficulty, occupied during the years 1886 and 1887.

During this period a very important step was taken by the China Inland Mission in Szechwan which needs a word of explanation here, viz. the dividing of the work of the Mission into two distinct parts, named respectively Western Szechwan and Eastern Szechwan, a distinction which always appears in the Annual Report of that Mission, but which is not quite clearly understood by many. Briefly stated,