Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/41

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Macao, and the haughty conduct of the East India Company at Canton, and finally the overthrow of the papacy by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809, are important events which affected and mark the rapid decline of Roman Catholic Missions in China, during the latter portion of the eighteenth and the opening years of the nineteenth century.

While many of the methods employed by the Roman Catholic missionaries, and especially by the Jesuits, cannot but be severely criticised, there is no question as to their devotion, their ability and influence, and their willingness to suffer hardship. To Roman Catholic missionaries Europe was indebted for almost all that was known about China, and Dr. Morrison received no small assistance through their early translations and literary work. Their methods may be a warning, but their zeal should certainly be an inspiration and reproof.

The order of the Jesuits was re-established in 1822, from which time the Roman Catholics have continued to push forward their work in China.


Period of Preparation, 1807–1842

Just one hundred years ago, in 1807, when the guns of Napoleon Bonaparte and the tramp of his guards were shaking the thrones of Europe to their very foundations, just eight years before the Battle of Waterloo gave to the troubled peoples any sense of security. Dr. Morrison sailed for the distant and then little known Empire of China. The vigour and enterprise both of Church and State in those days are a cause of ceaseless encouragement; and how far the faith and loyalty[1] of God's people, who in the darkest hours of national life dared and attempted great

  1. In the same year that Morrison sailed for China the Slave trade was abolished by Act of Parliament.