Meanwhile missionary work had been commenced in Manchuria, Dr. Williamson, as agent for the National Bible Society of Scotland, visiting Newchwang in 1866, while William Burns settled there in 1867, though he died the following year. In 1869 the Irish Presbyterian Church opened its Mission in Manchuria by the appointing of Dr. J. M. Hunter and the Rev. H. Waddell; the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (now the United Free Church) followed in 1872 by appointing the Rev. John Ross to that field, with which his name is now so familiar.
It was in 1870 that the L.M.S. commenced its second effort for the evangelisation of Mongolia, the first, as has been mentioned above, being closed by the Russian Government in 1840. This second effort is connected with the ever-to-be-remembered self-sacrificing labours of James Gilmour, who left Peking in 1870 to commence his twenty-one years of lonely and faithful toil for that land of his adoption. Gilmour's departure from Peking was hastened by the terrible news of the Tientsin massacre. Fearing that complications might arise which would hinder his undertaking, he by faith dared the possibility of having his line of communication cut, and "went out, not knowing whither he went."
The dreadful Tientsin massacre horrified the civilised world. The French Consul, several French missionaries, including nine Sisters of Mercy, together with some Roman Catholic converts, were at that time brutally killed. The time was one of considerable unrest, and even at Shanghai the foreign residents, with ships of war and more than five hundred volunteers, scarcely slept for fear of attack. Fresh criticism broke out at home against the missionaries, but Sir Thomas Wade and Earl Granville nobly stood by the missionary cause. As for France, the sudden outbreak of the Franco-German War prevented her bringing that strong pressure to bear upon China which she had at first threatened.
- Newchwang was opened as a port in 1861.