Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/66

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nations were brought to the verge of war. Sir Thomas Wade hauled down the British flag and left Peking. The Chinese Government finding they had gone too far, despatched Li Hung-chang as their special Commissioner to overtake him at Chefoo, when the Chefoo Convention[1] of 1876 was signed.

Although the Tientsin Treaty of 1858 had, in the letter, given considerable facilities for missionary operations in the interior, these had been in large measure inoperative. The Chefoo Convention, however, in addition to giving force to privileges already granted, gave special facilities for travel, and made special arrangements whereby for two years officers might be sent by the British Minister to see that proclamations connected with the "Margary Settlement" were posted throughout the provinces.

In a remarkable way God had provided for the facilities granted by the Chefoo Convention being utilised for the evangelisation of China. Some two years previously, Mr. Hudson Taylor had been led to put forth an appeal for prayer that God would give a band of eighteen men for work in the then nine still unoccupied provinces. These men were given, and when the Convention was signed they were all in China, ready to take advantage of the unforeseen though prayed for openings. Mr. Taylor himself arrived just as the Convention was signed, and at once inaugurated a series of wide and systematic itinerations with the object of preparing the way for future and more settled work. That the opportunity was rapidly seized is proved by the fact that before the year closed—and the Convention had only been signed in September—Shansi, Shensi, and Kansu had been entered, while during the following year Szechwan and Yunnan had been traversed, the capital of Kweichow occupied, and Kwangsi visited.

During 1877 Mr. J. McCarthy accomplished his remarkable walk across China, an account of which was published

  1. The Chefoo Convention was not ratified until 1885. Although the Chinese fulfilled its stipulations, the British Government delayed its ratification for nine years, that it might exact more onerous conditions concerning the opium traffic.