The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey/Editor's Preface

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During the years 1902-1903 the writer edited a series of articles on the Provinces of China, accompanied with maps, in China's Millions, the monthly organ of the China Inland Mission. Subsequently repeated requests were received, both from friends in China and at home, asking for the republication in book form of these articles. Instead of this, an entirely new work has been undertaken, which, it is hoped, will be of much more permanent value.

In view, also, of the fact that the year 1907 would be the Centenary of Protestant missionary effort in China, it appeared desirable and fitting to publish a comprehensive survey of the Chinese Empire. It was therefore decided to publish a large and new Atlas of the Chinese Empire, the Atlas to be accompanied by a book giving a geographical, historical, and missionary survey of each Province and Dependency of that Empire. The preparation of the various articles was entrusted to those who, by long residence in the field, were specially qualified to write as experts upon their own particular Provinces. The present volume contains the articles thus written, and is intended, though published separately, to be a supplementary volume to the Atlas of the Chinese Empire.

It needs but a glance at the Contents Table to see that each author writes from personal experience, the date of each writer's arrival in China being given in that table. If it be mentioned that the aggregate number of years spent in China by the writers of this book amounts to five hundred and fifty, it will readily be perceived that the book is the work of those who may be regarded as qualified to speak with authority.

While the general basis of the work as laid before each author was, the preparation of an article giving a geographical, historical, and missionary survey of his Province or Dependency, it was but natural that among so many writers there should be some slight variety of treatment and some variation as to length. Although the majority of the contributors exceeded the limits suggested, in only two or three cases has it been necessary to seriously condense or abbreviate. The lenient treatment of those who exceeded the limits originally suggested is recognised as possibly somewhat unfair to those who conformed to the original programme, and to these the Editor would offer his apology. Many of the longer articles were so valuable that they have only been curtailed where abbreviation appeared absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, all were not able to supply the provincial statistics as suggested.

The order in which the provinces have been arranged has been determined approximately by the date missionary work was commenced in them. Thus Kwangtung comes first, the coast provinces next, and the inland provinces last. It should be explained that although Formosa is not now part of the Chinese Empire, an article upon that Island has been included as the history of Missions there is so closely connected with the mainland.

It was intended to publish this book and the new Atlas of the Chinese Empire together, as companion volumes. An unexpected delay, which will be shortly explained, has, however, made it impossible, without serious loss to the ultimate value of the Atlas, to publish the maps immediately. As this book is now ready for the press, it is thought advisable to issue it at once. It is complete in itself, and will, it is hoped, prepare the way for the Atlas, which will be published as soon as possible.

The Atlas will consist of twenty-three maps of the Provinces and Dependencies of China; China Proper being all on the scale of 1:3,000,000, or about 47 miles to the inch; and the Dependencies of the Empire on the scale of 1:7,500,000, or nearly 120 miles to the inch. The drawing of the maps, which are based upon the most recent surveys, has been entrusted to Mr. Edward Stanford, the well-known King's Geographer. The engraving is already far advanced.

It is a great pleasure to acknowledge the personal care and interest taken in the preparation of the Atlas by Mr. John Bolton, F.R.G.S., of Mr. Edward Stanford's firm, from whom has been obtained the following list of some of the surveys utilised in the preparation of the maps:—

For the Kokonor district, a compilation by the Royal Geographical Society; for South-West Mongolia, the Russian Frontier Survey, For regions in the north-east of Tibet, Carl Futterer's route; for Southern Chihli, a map by the Topographical Section of the British War Office, also the China Field-Force Survey. For Inner Mongolia, Lieut.-Colonel Wingate's Survey; and for Manchuria, map compiled by the Topographical Section of the British War Office. For Shantung, Honan, Chekiang, and Szechwan, maps by the Topographical Section of the British War Office. For parts of Eastern China, the German War Office map; and for Kiangsu, the map by the Intelligence Branch of the Quartermaster-General's Department, Dehra Dun. For Anhwei, we are indebted to the Surveys of Lieut.-Colonel Wingate and to the Topographical Section of the General Staff of the War Office, and especially to Major Eraser. For the region of the Poyang Lake, charts by the Admiralty and by Consul W. J. Clennell. For the region of the Tungting Lake, the Admiralty Chart; and for the same region and Hunan generally, tracings and maps lent by Mr. A. H. Harris of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs and by the Rev. G. G. Warren of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. For Yunnan, a map by Major Davies; and for parts of Kweichow, the maps of Consul Bourne's Blackburn Commercial Mission. For parts of Kwangsi, maps by the Rev. Louis Byrde of the C.M.S.; and for Hongkong and Kowlun, the Topographical Section of the British War Office. For Western Kwangtung, maps by the Chambre de Commerce de Lyon; and for Hainan and Indo-China, the Carte de la Mission Pavie. For India and the adjacent countries, the maps compiled in the Burma Surveys Drawing Office.

The unexpected delay in the publication of the Atlas has been occasioned through the difficult question of Chinese orthography. Almost as soon as the work was determined upon, the question of what orthography to employ had to be decided. It was soon recognised that the orthography adopted by the Chinese Imperial Post Office would ultimately carry the day, since conformity to that is necessary in all postal communications, which as a determining factor is of no small importance. The Editor therefore immediately put himself into communication with China upon this matter, and was thankful to ascertain that Sir Robert Hart had already undertaken the careful consideration of this subject, a thorough revision of the former postal spelling being well advanced.

Although the authorities of the Chinese Imperial Post Office at once evinced the greatest interest in the preparation of this new Atlas, and most kindly responded by offering every facility for giving the present writer the results of their revision at the earliest possible moment, considerable delay has been experienced. But for this the Atlas and book would have been published together in time for the Centenary Conference in Shanghai. The orthography finally adopted is employed in this book, so far as that is possible at the time of going to press. The Atlas is being delayed that the full results of this orthographical revision may be used. If the Sinologue is tried by some inconsistencies in the orthography of Chinese places and persons, the Editor pleads for patience during the difficult days of a transitional period.

At a time when China is demanding an ever-increasing attention from the countries of the world, it is hoped that this work will prove useful, both in enabling the reader to more fully understand the country itself and to more fully appreciate the work that the Christian Church is seeking to do for her good. The Editor's endeavour has been to present to the public a serious and comprehensive review of the field as well as of the work being done there.

Most grateful acknowledgment must be made of the kind help which has been received from many sources, without which it would have been impossible to have prepared the present volume. While it is not possible to mention by name all who have in one way or another contributed to its completion, special reference is made to the following:—

To the Right Hon. Sir Ernest Satow, G.C.M.G., for his sympathetic Preface, the value of which will be readily recognised by those who know of his intimate acquaintance with and valuable services in the Far East, with which he has been so closely connected for the greater part of his life since 1861. To M. de Galembert, Imperial Postal Commissioner in Shanghai, and to Mr. Morse, Statistical Commissioner and Postal Secretary of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs, for their courtesy in placing at the writer's disposal early proofs of the revised orthography adopted by the Postal and Telegraph authorities in China; and also to Mr. James Stark, Secretary to the China Inland Mission Council in Shanghai, for kindly undertaking the negotiations in this and other matters.

Warm acknowledgment is also made of the great generosity shown by the British and Foreign Bible Society in unreservedly placing at the Editor's disposal the documents on the Bible in China so carefully prepared by Mr. Crayden Edmunds, M.A., of their Translating and Editorial Department, for a subsequent publication of their own. Without these the article on the Bible in the Chinese Empire could not have been written with anything of its present completeness or accuracy. Sincere thanks are also offered to Mr. Crayden Edmunds for the further kindness of reading through the proof of that section relating to the Bible in China ; and to Mr. Eugene Stock of the Church Missionary Society, the well-known authority on Missions, for a similar kindness in connection with the introductory chapter.

Of the able and willing co-operation of all those who have contributed articles to the book the fullest and heartiest acknowledgment is made, and any success which the book may attain will be no less theirs than the Editor's.

In addition to the above-mentioned persons, the Editor is under much obligation to the Secretaries of many Missionary Societies, who, at no little trouble to themselves, have searched for and lent photographs and engravings of some of their leading pioneer workers in China, thus making it possible to enrich the book with what is probably quite a unique collection of notable China missionaries. On this point it should be said that, with few exceptions, the collection of portraits has been limited to those who, having served their day and generation, have "fallen on sleep." The exceptions have been in the few cases where the missionary, though still living, has given fifty years or more to China, or where he has been the pioneer in some new field. Among so many notable men it has of course only been possible to select a few representative men from most of the older Societies. No one regrets more than the Editor that the limitations of space have not allowed him to include many other equally eminent missionaries, and especially some of the noble women, who, as wives or lady workers, have given equally valuable and self-sacrificing service to the cause of Christ in China. Of some of the early workers unfortunately portraits are not to be obtained.

In conclusion, acknowledgment is made of the assistance kindly given by Mr. E. Gillies, when on furlough, in the compilation of the statistics found on pp. 36-39, as well as other help. The statistics have been compiled from the published Reports of the various Societies, from which it has not, however, been always possible to obtain the desired information. Hearty thanks are also given to Mr. T. W. Goodall, my esteemed editorial colleague, for the full indices which he has prepared.

A considerable amount of material originally intended for the book has been omitted, especially statistical work and tables of Mission Stations, as the work is already much larger than was contemplated.

And now, to Him who hath "made of one blood every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him,"—this record of a century's efforts to make known to the most ancient of those nations the revelation of God in Christ Jesus is committed, with the earnest prayer that all the glory of past successes may be given to Him, that all the failures and shortcomings of His servants may be forgiven, and that all wisdom and grace for the right and full use of the wonderful opportunities now presenting themselves may be vouchsafed to those responsible for future action.


China Inland Mission, London,
March 25, 1907.