Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China/Protestant Missions in China

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By the Rev. J. Steele, B.A., Presbyterian Church of England, Swatow.


In the years that followed the Reformation missionary activity was not a characteristic of the new-born Protestant Church. Even while labouring in the throes of this birth the mother Church had produced within herself the great Jesuit order, and so inaugurated a new era of missions. But after the division, the Reformed Church was so occupied with the work of reconstruction, and, later on, so pressed down with the weight of intellectualism little tempered with love, which issued in the deism of the eighteenth century, that she failed for long to realise her duty to non-Christian nations.

This could not last for ever. A Church that read on its charter the words " Go … and preach the Gospel to the whole creation"; and which numbered among its saints Paul the Apostle, and the great Gregory, and Lull, and Xavier, must sooner or later gird herself to the work. Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg in 1517. In 1556 Protestant missionaries began a work in Brazil, and in 1559 in Lapland. Other attempts of some magnitude were made, but it was not until the religious movement of the eighteenth century that the Church as a whole awoke to its duty; and then, within a short ten years, the four great Protestant Missionary Societies were born.

While the Church was still undivided, colonisation and the movements of trade determined the order of missionary expansion, and the course which the Protestant Church followed was substantially along the same lines. Thus it came about that China was the last of the great non-Christian nations to become the sphere of Protestant missionary activity.

It was fitting that the missionary interest of the Protestant Church should be directed to China by the discovery in the British Museum, in the year 1795, of a manuscript of the New Testament in Chinese prepared by a Roman Catliolic missionary. In 1805 the London Missionary Society determined to engage in work among the Chinese resident in the Malay Peninsula, and designated the Rev, Robert Morrison to establish a mission in Prince of Wales' Island (now known as Penang). Within the next few years that island, Malacca, Bangkok, Singapore, Batavia, and Java were occupied by various societies as points of vantage from which the problem of the evangelisation of China might be attacked. Morrison was fated to begin work nearer the objective. Before he sailed his destination was altered, and he landed in Canton on September 7, 1807, the pioneer of Protestant missions.

When he arrived in China Canton was the only point of contact with the West, and the channel of intercourse was no wider than the little Oil Gate in the southern wall of that city, at which petitions to the Chinese authorities might be presented but through which no foreigner might pass. In such circumstances Morrison was compelled to restrict his work to the narrow limits of the "Factories." Two of his converts found places in the train of an Imperial Examiner, and distributed tracts to the students at the various examination centres in the province. With this exception, the early work in Canton was but another parallel driven nearest of any to the foot of the glacis. The walls still remained unbreached. Preparation was being made for an advance, however. An Anglo-Chinese College had been opened at Malacca. Morrison's Dictionary had been published in 1821, at a cost of ;tJ2,ooo ; the complete Bible in two editions — one by Marshman of Serampore, and the other by Morrison — was ready ; and many workers had already acquired the language. Gützlaff, as agent for the Nederlands Missionary Society, had made seven vojages along the China coast, penetrating as far as Tientsin, and had widely distributed the Scriptures. And, on the north-west frontier, work among the Mongols had been begun with the concurrence of the Czar of Russia. Then came the first great opportunity. At the conclusion of the war between Great Britain and China the Treaty of Nanking, signed in 1842, opened to the commerce of the world the 'Treaty ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai, and guaranteed the safety of British merchants residing there. Almost immediately, twelve missionary societies entered into occupation. In 1842 work was begun in Amoy ; in 1843, at Shanghai and Ningpo ; in 1847, at Swatow and Foochow, and among the Hakkas of the Kwangtung Province ; while in 1861 Central China was opened to work by the occupation of Hankow by Griffith John. Since then the work of expansion has gone on without interruption, and now the eighteen provinces of China, along with Manchuria and Mongolia, are open to the Gospel. Efforts have been made to reach the so-called aboriginal tribes, who occupy a large part of the provinces of Yunnan and Kwelchow, and of late these people, the Nosu, and Hwa Miao, have responded to the work done among them in a movement similar to the mass movements among the jungle tribes in India. Ten thousand Miao tribesmen and women have been enrolled as adherents.

Sporadic riots have, from time to time, caused the destruction of mission property, from 1864 and onwards. The most serious of these occurred in Chentu, Szechwan, in 1895, when the compounds of three Protestant missions, and one Roman Catholic mission were destroyed, but without loss of life. Massacres, too, have not been infrequent. Among others the murder of eight missionaries and two children, belonging to the Church Missionary Society, took place at Ku-cheng, Fokien, in 1873 ; and four adults and one child belonging to the American Board Mission suffered death at Lienchow, in Kwantung Province, in 1905.

But eclipsing all others were the losses sustained during the great " Boxer " rising of 1900. The reform measures of the Emperor, the aggression of foreign powers, and illegitimate, and to some degree legitimate, missionary enterprise, roused the intensely conservative Dowager Empress to action, in the hope that she might preserve China for her dynasty. She checkmated the Emperor and the Reform Party by the coup d'etat of 1898 ; but she convinced herself that the other evils would yield to nothing but force. There lay to her hand a weapon ready forged in the Society of Righteous Harmony Fists, the " Boxers," and with these and the officials she hoped to exterminate all the foreigners within the Empire. The Boxers did all that could be expected of them, but some of the officials showed themselves wiser than their mistress, and so the trouble was confined, in the main, to the country north of the Yangtsze and Manchuria, and broke itself against the walls of the legations at Peking. While missionaries were not specially aimed at in the Dowager Empress' secret edict calling for the extermination of all foreigners (yang ren), their position in the interior caused them to suffer most. The losses of that time are tabulated as follows : — Adults. Children. China Inland Mission

Christian and Missionary Alliance

American Board Mission ...

English Baptist Missionary Society

Shouyang Mission II

American Presbyterian Mis- sion

Scandinavian Alliance Mon- golian Mission

— British and Foreign Bible Society

Swedish Mongolian Mission

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

— Unconnected

— Total ...

The number of native converts who suffered death is beyond estimation. Many of them exhibited a heroism which was not surpassed by that of the noblest Christian martyrs of any age. There is room for but one example. A young artist was apprehended in Manchuria soon after the storm burst. On the execution ground the Boxers bound him, and then asked him if he would still preach the Jesus religion. " Yes," was the reply, " as long as I live." Then an eyebrow was cut off, and the same question put elicited the same reply. Another eyebrow, and then the ears were severally removed, and at each stage opportunity for recantation was given. After each cut he still answered that while he lived he could not but preach the way of salvation to sinners. When he felt himself getting weak he said, "I may be unable to speak, but I shall never cease to believe " ; and then one great cut released him from his pains. Even the Boxers praised his constancy and sincerity.

Many missionaries bore willing testimony to the kindness which they received from the officials, at the risk of disgrace, and even in some cases of life itself. The amazing thing about all the troubles that the Chinese Church has been called to pass through is that these have not imposed more than the most transitory check upon its advance. The Church has always issued from the fire strengthened and purified ; and larger and more suitable premises have always risen upon the ruins of those destroyed, not seldom without any indemnity having been exacted from the destroyers.


At the end of the year 1905 the Protestant missionary societies in China numbered : — British 18 American 29 Continental 8 Bible and Tract Societies ... 4 Educational Societies 3 Y.M.C.A I Total .. 63

The missionaries connected with these societies, along with 108 independent workers, totalled 3,445, of whom 964 were single ladies, and 301 doctors. These workers were distributed over 632 stations. Arranged in order of the number of their workers the principal societies ranked as follows : —

China Inland Mission 849 Church Missionary Society ... 275 American Presbyterian (North)... 265 Methodist Episcopal (American)... ig6 London Missionary Society ... 131 American Board ... 106 English Presbyterian Mission ... 99 American Baptist (North) .„ 90 (South) ... 88 American Episcopal 84 Wesleyan Missionary Society ... 82 The London Missionary Society was first on the field in China, represented by Morrison, who landed in Canton in 1807. Next in time came the American Board with the Rev. Elijah C. Bridgman, who joined Morrison in 1830. In 1831 Karl Gützlaff, deputed by the Nederlands Missionary Society, made the first of his seven voyages along the China coast. The American Episcopal Mission, and the American Baptist Mission also took up positions before the opening of the Treaty ports, the first in Canton in 1835, and the second in Macao in 1837. When the ports were opened societies began to send workers in much larger numbers. The Dutch Reformed Church (American) occupied Amoy in 1842 ; the Church Missionary Society began work in Shanghai in 1844 ; and the English Presbyterians in Amoy in 1847. The foundations of the China Inland Mission were laid in 1853 by the arrival of Dr. Hudson Taylor as agent of the China Evangelisation Society, and the society itself was organised in 1865. These societies have come upon the field not as independent expeditions pursuing different aims, but rather as different regiments, taking their places in the fighting line of that division of the Grand Army of Christ which is campaigning in China. From the time when the American, Bridgman, joined himself to Morrison, the Englishman, the feeling of comradeship has been most conspicuous. 334 TWENTIETH CENTUEY IMPRESSIONS OF HONGKONG, SHANGHAI, ETC. This feeling has manifested itself in the x-arious adjustments of forces that have been carried out. The American Episcopal Mission withdrew from Amoy in favour of the American Board, and that societ>', in turn, made way for the mission of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Church Missionary Society retired from Peking in favour of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. These arrangements, and others like them, demonstrate the oneness of aim which inspires societies, differing widely on questions of government and belief. The most conspicu ous example of co-operation is furnished by the China Inland Mission. That great society unites under one directorate Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, baptizers of infants and adults, and of adults only, natives of the four divisions of the British Isles, and the Colonies, and associated missionaries from Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Finland. Separate spheres are arranged for the different classes of workers, but there is an identity of aim and a unity in operation that is both visible and effective. The unity of the Protestant missionary body in China has been promoted by three general Conferences, in 1877, 1890, and 1907. At the last of these, when every Protestant missionary society in China was represented, it was resolved to form a Christian federation of missionaries working in China, (n) to encourage everything that will demonstrate the existing essential unity of Christians ; and (6) to promote co-operation among the missionary societies in the interests of harmony, efficiency, and economy. The Conference summed up the situation in these words : "We frankly recognise that we differ as to the methods of administration, and Church government. But we unite in holding that these differences do not invalidate the assertion of our real unity in our common witness to the Gospel of the grace of God." And, in order to help forward the union of the various native Churches, the Conference appointed a committee, consisting of three members from each of the following Churches working in China — Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Reformed Methodist, and Presbyterian. The spirit of the Protestant missionary body in China to-day, despite all differences of name, is summed up in the motto of its most recent conference, " Unum in Christo."


Among the many Protestant missionaries who have worked in China there are some whose lumes call for special mention.* Robert Morrison (1782-1834). The pioneer of Protestant missions in China. Landed in Canton September 7, 1807 ; was appointed Chinese translator to the East Indi.t Company ; finished his Chinese grammar in 1812 ; Chinese New Testament in 1813 ; complete Bible, 1819 ; and dictionary, which was published by the Company, in 1821. He baptized his first convert after seven years' work, and at his death there were ten members in the Church. William Milne (1785-1822). Joined Morrison at Macao in 1813. Next year he wrote, "To acquire the Chinese is a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of spring-steel, eyes of eagles, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah." Made a tour of the Malay Peninsula, in order to distribute the New Testament among the Chinese settlers there. Was appointed head of the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca. He estimated

  • AngUcan mwriom are dealt witli in a separate article.

that one hundred years after the establishment of Protestant missions in China there would be one thousand Christians, children included. The total number in 1907 was reckoned at seven hundred and fifty times Milne's compulation.

Elijah Coleman Bridgman (1801-61), the first American missionary to China, arrived in Canton in 1830. He took a principal part in the formation of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China, the Morrison Education Society (since defunct), and the North China branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, of which he was elected first president.

Samuel Wells Williams (1812-84), arrived in China in 1833, and was secretary to the U.S.A. Legation for sixteen years. Wrote a "Tonic Dictionary of the Canton Dialect," a "Syllabic Dictionary of Chinese," and the "Middle Kingdom."

Peter Parker, M.D. (1804-88). Was sent to Canton in 1834, as the pioneer medical missionary, by the American Board.

William Chalmers Burns (1815-68), reached Hongkong in 1847 ; moved to Amoy in 1851. Afterwards worked in Shanghai, and Peking ; and died in Newchwang, in an endeavour to begin settled work there. His translation of the "Pilgrim's Progress," and his hymns, original and translated, are in use in every mission in China.

J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905). Having graduated in medicine, he arrived in China, in 1854, and worked for a time, with William Burns, inland from Shanghai, and in Swatow. Intending to take up work at the latter place, he was led to devote himself to the evangelisation of Inland China, and formed the China Inland Mission in 1866, when he sailed with sixteen others in the Lammernittir. This mission has developed work in all of the eighteen provinces except Kwangtung and Kwangsi.

James Legge (1814-98). Appointed Principal of the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca, he removed to Hongkong in 1843. He issued the first volume of his translation of the Chinese Classics in 1861, and completed the work in seven volumes. He translated, also, the "Book of Rites," the "Book of Changes," the "Texts of Taoism," &c. He was appointed to the Chair of Chinese Studies at Oxford in 1876.

Alexander Wylie (1815-87), arrived in China in 1847 to superintend the printing press of the London Missionary Society in Shanghai. Afterwards he was agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society. He wrote "Memorials of Protestant Missionaries," and " Notes on Chinese Literature," a descriptive catalogue of the most important Chinese writings.

James Gilmour (1843-91), was celebrated for his work among the Mongols, concerning which he wrote two books.


The aim of missions in China is to proclaim the Evangel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mission operations stand to be judged by the faithfulness and efficiency with which they do that work. Converts, scholars, hospitals, printing presses. Bibles, and newspapers, all have their places as auxiliary to this end, and are viewed in relation to it.


The methods in use to compass this end are various. First comes preaching. Every missionary is first of all a preacher — not often from the pulpit, nor always with the tongue. In the hospitals the preaching is done in "deeds More strong than all poetic thought." The missionary evangelist goes out to the villages, or into the streets of the cities ; and on the ferries, and by the wayside ; he speaks as he has learned, and, as far as the difficulties of the language and the convolutions of minds, alien to his in all but their humanity and common need, will allow. None is more conscious than he of his limitations, and it is a mighty uplift when one and another (of their honesty let the section on results tell) responds, and he can begin to train native evangelists. It has been accepted on all hands that China can only be evangelised properly by the Chinese. Acting upon that assumption most missions have devised methods for training their native preachers. Some missionaries, as Mackay of Formosa, take their students with them on their itinerations ; others gather promising men at centres, and train them there. A training school and theological college is a feature of every well-found mission to-day. The work in such institutions is developing in two directions. Amalgamation of separate colleges has been accomplished in Soochow, Nanking, Mukden, Amoy, and other places, in the interests both of efficiency and economy. The standard of education is being gradually raised, in order that students may be prepared to assume the charge, as pastors, of the native churches. Simpler courses equip men who through age, or defective education, are unfitted to grapple with the subjects of an advanced curriculum ; but young and well-educated men are taught all the subjects, with the exception of Greek and Hebrew, which a student in a home theological college studies, though not as yet with the same thoroughness. When native evangelists are equipped and sent out the number of converts grows rapidly. The next stage, then, is the organisation of native churches. In this matter each mission follows the Church order to which it belongs. In some places there are bishops, priests, and deacons ; in others ministers, elders, and deacons ; in others again, no settled ministry is recognised ; but, in all, there are congregations gathering from Sunday lo Sunday for worship, preaching, and the celebration of Holy Communion. The diversity of forms is not as confusing to a Chinese as it is to a Western mind. All differences are blurred to him by that haze of strangeness that covers everything connected, however indirectly, with the foreigner.

But the desire of the missionaries is that these divisions shall not be perpetuated. The recent Conference declared that the foreign missionaries "desire only to plant one Church,' that they recognise "the liberty . . . of the Churches in China," and that they eagerly anticipate the time when these Churches "shall pass beyond the guidance and control " of the foreign missionary. The Conference also declared for " the right of the Churches in China ... to organise themselves in accordance with their own views of truth and duty." What form of government or variety of doctrine the Church of China will adopt, no one would venture to predict to-day. The missionaries have made it clear to their converts that they stand to them in the relation of nursing-fathers, and only desire that the new Church, when it comes, shall be true to its Lord, and true to all that is best in the genius and character of the Chinese race.


The organisation of Churches implies the education of the children of Christians. The system of missionary schools has been designed with a view to this end, rather than to serve as evangelistic agencies proper. The Educational Association of China, founded in 1890, links all engaged in teaching in co-operation for the promotion of educational interests. Since the publication of the imperial scheme for elementary and advanced schools and colleges, the curricula of mission schools have been remodelled to bring them into line with Government requirements as far as possible. Up to the present such schools have failed to secure recognition from the Government, and so find a place in the educational machinery of the country. The example of Japan justifies the expectation that before long recognition will be extended to all such institutions which satisfy the educational requirements of the Government examiners.

Resuming consideration of agencies directly evangelistic, we now hark back to the medical work. Mission hospitals both create suspicion and allay it. A nation whose materia medica includes thirty-two parts, or products, of the human body, is necessarily suspicious of the doctor with his magic anodyne, and no less wonderful knife. A bottle of preserved cherries on a doctor's mantelshelf was interpreted by a Chinese as a collection of eyes taken from the heads of innocent children, and a riot was the consequence, with the destruction of much valuable property and the peril of many lives, happily without a fatality.

But if the doctor is uncanny, who comes after eyes and hearts, how utterly inexplicable is the action of the preacher, who asks for nothing, and gets more, and less, than his desire? Motiveless volitions are unknown to the Chinese; intangible motives are moonshine to him. So the preacher is an object of extreme suspicion, and, therefore, of intense dislike. But the skill and devotion of the doctor opens for the patient a window, through which he dimly sees the substratum of a common humanity beneath the outlandish exterior, and the rest is easy. The hospital door has been the widest door to the Church in many a town in China.

In 1905 there were 301 mission doctors in China, of whom 94 were ladies; 166 hospitals and 241 dispensaries. As many as 35,301 in-patients and 1,044,948 out-patients were treated. Special attention is paid to lepers, and to the care of the insane.

In addition to treating patients, the doctors are engaged in training students in medicine, surgery, and the allied subjects. Here, again, amalgamation is in the air. The most notable example of this is the Union Medical College at Peking, in which the doctors of several missions co-operate. The Dowager-Empress gave ten thousand taels to this institution. Students are attracted from all over the empire, and the diplomas of the College are recognised by Government. At the other end of the land, in Canton, a Medical College for Women has been established by the American Presbyterian Mission. A Medical Association looks after the interests of the foreign doctors. It publishes a magazine bi-monthly, and is engaged in reducing to uniformity the system of medical nomenclature, and publishing textbooks in which the new terms are used.


The Bible.


The translation, printing, and distribution of the Bible have occupied the energies of the ablest Protestant missionaries. These were not the first to begin the work, but they have carried it furthest towards completion. The first Chinese Bible was printed at Serampore, India, in 1820; and was the joint production of Joannes Lassar, an Armenian Christian born in Macao, and the Rev. John Marshman, who had never been to China. The most important revision, and the most popular at the present day, is that known as the "Delegates Version." In the New Testament it is the production of a committee of delegates from the various Churches, who began work in Shanghai in 1847, viz., Bishop Boone, the Rev. Drs. Bridgman, Medhurst, and Milne, and the Rev. J. Stronach. The Old Testament portion was produced by the last three; and the whole was completed in 1853.

Since then many versions in High Wenli, Easy Wenli, Mandarin, and various local dialects, have been produced.

A thorough revision of the whole Chinese Bible has been proceeding since 1890. The work is now in the hands of a committee for Wenli, and another committee for Mandarin.

Three Bible Societies are engaged in the production and distribution of the Bible, New Testament, and Scripture portions, with or without notes and introductions.

In 1905 the circulation was as follows:—

Bibles. New Testaments. Portions.
British and Foreign Bible Society 16,488 40,525 1,018,167
American Bible Society 7,078 31,672 498,554
Scottish National Bible Society 2,566 21,218 883,490
Total 21,132 93,415 2,400,211

With the exception of a few grants to officials all these have been sold, a contrast to the days when Gützlaff and his successors failed at times to secure acceptance for such books even as a gift.




As stated above, Dr. Milne made a calculation in 1820 that if Christianity in China were in every succeeding twenty years to double its access of numbers, as it had in the first twenty, then at the close of the first hundred years there would be a thousand Christians in China. But at the end of these first hundred years, at the Conference in Shanghai in 1907, it was announced that the actual number of Church members alone was 200,000. If to these be added the number of those who attend regularly, but are not yet baptized, and the children, whom Milne included, the grand total is 720,000.

Church members are drawn largely from the farmer, working, and shop-keeping classes, with a fair admixture of literary men, and a very few officials of low grade, as in every country the appeal has been made largely to these first classes, pauperes evangelizantur. Special attention, however, is now being devoted to the scholars and officials, and to the student class from which the ranks of both these classes are recruited.

Christians are organised into Churches, which are developing rapidly along the three lines of self-government, self-support, and self-propagation.




In every Protestant mission it has been the object of the foreigners to train a native ministry which shall, in time, assume the lead in the native Church, controlling, teaching, and guiding it. The natives have responded well to the trust imposed upon them, and have shown themselves thoroughly capable of directing their own affairs and administering their own funds.

In most missions the foreigner takes his place alongside the native minister in the church courts, and shares in the work of legislation and administration on the principle of one man one vote. His influence beyond this single vote lies in the force of his character, the ripeness of his experience, and the depth of his affection for the Chinese among whom he works. In time, even this assessorship will disappear, and the Chinese Church will stand entirely alone, making its own laws, shaping its own doctrine, and "dreeing its own weird." This is the aim of the foreign mission work, and all approximations to it are welcomed by the missionaries.




Chinese Christians are rice-eaters, but the rice which they consume is their own, and not a foreign dole. The home societies necessarily support a staff of preachers, teachers, and hospital assistants. Beyond this, money subscribed in the West is not expended on the support of Chinese.

The latest complete statistics, those for 1905, put the total contributions of Chinese Christians for the year at $301,263 (Mexican). The greatest advance in this line has been made by Churches in the south-east. There the average annual contribution per member is $4·50 (Mexican). The salaries of all their native missionaries are paid by the people over whom they are ordained, and 80 per cent. of the pay of native preachers is contributed by the natives.




The native Churches have long recognised their duty to their non-Christian neighbours. Additions to the Church are more the result of work done by unofficial Church members than through the immediate agency of their leaders and teachers. But, beyond individual effort, native missions to the unevangelised have been established by some of the churches. These are organised, financed, controlled and manned entirely by natives. The islands of Namoa and Tungshan on the south-east coast are worked by such organisations.

From this brief resumé of Protestant mission work in China it will be seen that the result is a purely native Church, with a history, an ideal, and a future; that Christianity in China is no longer a negligible force; and that, judged by Western standards, the Chinese Christian, while he may not in the aggregate be a "plaster saint," is a man with an honest conviction, a message, and a hope, and, as such, is entitled to respect and sympathy.




The volumes of the "Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal"; the periodicals of the various missionary societies; the "Records" of the Conferences of 1877, 1890, and 1907; "A Century of Missions," by the Rev. D. MacGillivray, B.D.


Tcitp d344 union church of hong kong.jpg



The establishment of the Union Church, which is the centre of religious life among nonconformists in the Colony, was due to the initiative and religious fervour of Dr. Legge, a man of scholarly attainments and the well-known author of "Chinese Classics." He came to Hongkong as an agent for the London Missionary Society in 1843, and at once opened his house to Europeans for worship and speedily promoted the building of a chapel. A basis of agreement was drawn up which was Protestant, evangelical, and undenominational, and, an appeal having been made for funds in reply to which two-thirds of the cost of the building were supplied from outside the Colony, a church was erected in Wellington Street, and opened in 1845. Four years later Dr. Legge formally undertook the pastorate and, with the exception of an interval between 1867 and 1870, continued his ministration continuously until 1873. His services throughout the whole of this period, were highly appreciated, and under his direction the small struggling Church gradually grew in strength. The building in Wellington Street, becoming dilapidated and too small for the requirements of the community, a second structure was raised in 1865, in Staunton Road. Sunday-school work was commenced in 1872, and, in various ways, the Church became so firmly established that in 1880, with full and grateful acknowledgment of the assistance which had so constantly been rendered by the London Missionary Society during the previous thirty-five years, the members decided to make it self-supporting and independent in financial matters. Ten years later, the neighbourhood of Staunton Road being considered unsuitable for a European church, the present edifice in Kennedy Road, and a commodious manse adjoining, were opened in 1891. A church hall was added six years later. In 1893 a ladies' committee was elected, and in 1894 a Christian Endeavour Society was formed. Both of these continue to contribute largely to the furtherance of the general objects of the Church. In 1902 a literary club was started which, from its inauguration, has attracted talent from all sections of the Colony, its weekly meetings during the winter are largely attended and highly appreciated. In 1904 the Hongkong and New Territory Evangelisation Society was inaugurated as a joint effort on the part of the Union Church and the To Tsai (London Missionary Society, Chinese) Church, to evangelise the local populations under the British flag. Very remarkable success has attended this effort, both on the mainland and on the adjacent islands. Sunday-school work is now carried on in three districts with marked benefit.

The present church buildings are centrally situated and commodious. A tower rises above the cruciform structure, which accommodates 500 worshippers, and around the walls are tablets commemorating the eminent scholarship of Dr. Legge and Dr. Chalmers and the services of Dr. Young, all three of whom, at different periods, were ministers of the church. Altogether there have been thirteen pastors, as well as the famous Dr. Eitel, who rendered much appreciated interim service, and the Rev. T. W. Pearce, who still does so. The present minister is the Rev. C. H. Hickling, who recently returned from Europe for a second term of service by the hearty desire of the congregation. Besides ministering to the church under his charge he acts as one of the chaplains to the Navy and Army for the Colonial Government, and also shares in the services conducted in the Peak church, which has numbered among its members some of the most esteemed residents in the Colony.




Tcitp d344 union church of shanghai.jpg


The Union Church, situated in Soochow Road, near the British Consulate, is a graceful structure of blue-grey and red brick, in the Early English style of architecture, with an open-timbered roof and an octagonal shingled tower. As the name implies, the congregation consists of a union of all Free Church denominations. The Rev. Dr. Medhurst, of the London Missionary Society, took the initiative in its formation as early as 1845. For many years services were held in a chapel in the Shantung Road, but at length the unsuitableness of the neighbourhood and the growing requirements of the congregation made necessary the acquisition of a new site. A building committee was formed towards the close of 1882; funds were raised by means of a bazaar and an appeal to the public; and the present site was acquired for the sum of Tls. 20,945·65. The new church was erected by Mr. Dowdall, at a cost of about Tls. 9,000, and was opened for divine service on July 4, 1886. New school premises, lecture hall, class-rooms and manse were built on land adjoining the church in 1889, and the church itself was enlarged to its present size in 1901. The minister is the Rev. C. E. Darwent, M.A., who came to the Settlement early in 1889.