During our work in Fukien Province and in various parts of Yuen-nan we came into intimate personal contact with a great many missionaries; indeed every traveler in the interior of China will meet them unless he purposely avoids doing so. But the average tourist seldom sees the missionary in his native habitat because, for the most part, he lives and works where the tourist does not go.

Nevertheless, that does not prevent the coastwise traveler from carrying back with him from the East a very definite impression of the missionary, which he has gained on board ships or in Oriental clubs where he hears him "damned with faint praise." Almost unconsciously he adopts the popular attitude just as he enlarges his vocabulary to include "pidgin English" and such unfamiliar phrases as "tiffin," "bund" and "cumshaw."

This chapter is not a brief for the missionary, but simply a matter of fair play. We feel that in justice we ought to present our observations upon this subject, which is one of very general interest, as impartially as upon any phase of our scientific work. But it should be distinctly understood that we are writing only of those persons whom we met and lived with, and whose work we had an opportunity to know and to see; we are not attempting generalizations on the accomplishments of missionaries in any other part of China.

There are three charges which we have heard most frequently brought against the missionary: that he comes to the East because he can live better and more luxuriously than he can at home; that he often engages in lucrative trade with the natives; and that he accomplishes little good, either religious or otherwise. It is said that his converts are only "rice Christians," and treaty-port foreigners have often warned us in this manner, "Don't take Christian servants; they are more dishonest and unreliable than any others."

It is often true that the finest house in a Chinese town will be that of the resident missionary. In Yen-ping the mission buildings are imposing structures, and are placed upon a hill above and away from the rest of the city. Any white person who has traveled in the interior of China will remember the airless, lightless, native houses, opening, as they all do, on filthy streets and reeking sewers and he will understand that in order to exist at all a foreigner must be somewhat isolated and live in a clean, well-ventilated house.

Every missionary in China employs servants - many more servants than he could afford at home. So does every other foreigner, whatever his vocation. There is no such thing in China as the democracy of the West, and the missionary's status in the community demands that certain work in his house be done by servants; otherwise he and his family would be placed on a level with the coolie class and the value of his words and deeds be discounted. But the chief reason is that the missionary's wife almost always has definite duties to which she could not attend if she were not relieved from some of the household cares. She leads in work among the women of the community by organizing clubs and "Mutual Improvement Societies" and in teaching in the schools or hospitals where young men and women are learning English as an asset to medical work among their own people. Servants are unbelievably cheap. While we were in Foochow a cook received $3.50 (gold) per month, a laundryman $1.75 (gold) per month, and other wages were in proportion.

In Fukien Province the missionaries receive two months' vacation. Anyone who has lived through a Fukien summer in the interior of the province will know why the missionaries are given this vacation. If they were not able to leave the deadly heat and filth and disease of the native cities for a few weeks every year, there would be no missionaries to carry on the work. The business man can surround himself with innumerable comforts both in his home and in his office which the missionary cannot afford and, during the summer, life is not only made possible thereby but even pleasant.

Yen-ping is eight days' travel from Foochow up the Min River and it is by no means the most remote station in the province. Very few travelers reach these places during the year and the white inhabitants are almost isolated. Miss Mabel Hartford lives alone at Yuchi and at one time she saw only one foreigner in eight months. Miss Cordelia Morgan is the sole foreign resident of Chu-hsuing Fu, a large Chinese city six days from Yuen-nan Fu. In Ta-li Fu, Reverend William J. Hanna, his wife and two other women, are fourteen days' ride from the nearest foreign settlement. In Li-chiang, Reverend and Mrs. A. Kok and their three small children live with two women missionaries. They are twenty-one days' travel from a doctor, and for four years previous to our visit they had not seen a white woman.

These are some instances of missionaries whom we met in China who have voluntarily exiled themselves to remote places where they expect to spend their entire lives surrounded by an indifferent if not hostile population. Can anyone possibly believe that they have chosen this life because it is easier or more luxurious than that at home?

Some of the men whom we met had left lucrative business positions to take up medical or evangelistic work in China where their compensation is pitifully small - not one-third of the salary they were commanding at home.

We did not meet any missionaries who were engaging in trade with the natives even though in some places there were excellent business opportunities.

Consider the doctors as examples of the civilizing influences which missionaries bring with them. We saw them in various parts of China doing a magnificent work. Dr. Bradley has established a great leper hospital at Paik-hoi where these human outcasts are receiving the latest and most scientific treatment and beginning to look at life with a new hope. In Yen-ping, at the time of the rebellion, we saw Dr. Trimble working hour after hour over wounded and broken men without a thought of rest. In Yuen-nan Fu, Dr. Thompson's hospital was filled with patients suffering from almost every known disease. In Ta-li Fu we saw Mr. Hanna and his wife dispensing medicines and treating the minor ills of patients waiting by the dozen, the fees received being not enough to pay for the cost of the medicines. Why is it that every traveling foreigner in the interior of China is supposed to be able to cure diseases? Certainly an important reason is because of the work done by the medical missionaries who have penetrated to the farthest corners of the most remote provinces.

Aside from their medical work, missionaries are in many instances the real pioneers of western civilization. They bring to the people new standards of living, both morally and physically. They open schools and emancipate the Chinese children in mind and body. They fight the barbarous customs of foot binding and the killing and selling of girl babies. Until recent years it was not unusual to meet the village "baby peddler" with from two to six tiny infants peddling his "goods" from village to village. Not many years ago such a man appeared before the mission compound at Ngu-cheng (Fukien) with four babies in his basket. Three of these had expired from exposure and the kerosene oil which had been poured down their throats to stupefy them and drown their cries. The fourth was purchased by the wife of the native preacher for ten cents in order to save its life. This child was reared and has since graduated from the mission schools with credit. In Foochow a stone tablet bearing the following inscription stands beside a stagnant pool: "Hereafter the throwing of babies into this pool will be punished by law." This was a result of the work of the missionaries.

Their task is by no means easy and, as Mr. Hanna once remarked, "Yuen-nan Province has broken the heart of more than one missionary." The Chinese do not understand their point of view, and it is difficult to make them see it. A Chinaman is a rank materialist and pure altruism does not enter into his scheme of life. As a rule he has but two thoughts, his stomach and his cash bag. It is well-nigh impossible to make him realize that the missionary has not come with an ulterior motive - if not to engage in trade, perhaps as a spy for his government. Others believe that it is because China is so vastly superior to the rest of the world that the missionaries wish to live there. Eventually the suspicions of the natives become quieted and they accept the missionary at some part of his true worth.

At the time of the rebellion in Yen-ping we saw Harry Caldwell, Mr. Bankhardt and Dr. Trimble save the lives of hundreds of people and the city from partial destruction because the Chinese officers of the opposing forces would trust the missionaries when they would not trust each other.

An excellent piece of practical missionary work was done in Fukien Province, not long after our visit there. As we have related in Chapter III, several large bands of brigands were established in the hills about Yuchi. Brigandage began there in the following way. During a famine when the people were on the verge of starvation, a wealthy farmer, Su Ek by name, decided to do his share in relieving conditions by offering for sale a quantity of rice which he had accumulated. He approached another man of similar wealth who agreed with him to sell his grain at a reasonable price. Su Ek accordingly disposed of his rice to the suffering people and, when he had remaining only enough to sustain his own family until the following harvest, he sent the peasants to the second man who had also agreed to dispose of his grain.

This farmer refused to sell at the stipulated price, and the people, angered at his treachery, looted his sheds. He immediately went to Foochow and reported to the governor that there was a band of brigands abroad in Yuchi County under the leadership of Su Ek, and that they had robbed and plundered his property.

Without warning a company of soldiers swooped down upon the community and arrested a number of men whose names the informer had given. Su Ek made his escape to the hills but he was pursued as a brigand chief, and was later joined by other farmers who had been similarly persecuted. Unable to return to their homes on pain of death they were forced to rob in order to live.

Su Ek and others were finally decoyed to Foochow upon the promise that their lives would be spared if they would induce their band to surrender. They met the conditions but the government officials broke faith and the men were executed. Similar attempts were made to enter into negotiations with the brigands and in 1915 two hundred were trapped and beheaded after pardons had been promised them. Naturally the robbers refused to trust the government officials again.

The months which elapsed between this act of treachery and the spring of 1916, were filled with innumerable outrages. Many townships were completely devastated, either by the bandits or the Chinese soldiers. Little will ever be known of what actually took place under the guise of settling brigandage, behind the mountains which separate Yuchi from the outer world. It is well that it should not be known.

During the spring of 1916 a missionary visited Yuchi. Business called him outside the city wall and just beyond the west gate he saw the bodies of ten persons who had that day been executed. Among these were two children, brothers, the sons of a man who was reported to have "sold rice to the brigands." The smaller child had wept and pleaded to be permitted to kneel beside his older brother further up in the row. He was too small to realize what it all meant but he wanted to die beside his brother.

In the middle of the field lay a man whose head was partly severed from his body and who had been shot through and through by the soldiers. He was lying upon his back in the broiling sun pleading for a cup of tea or for someone to put him out of his misery. The missionary learned the man's story. It appeared that years ago a law suit in which his father had been concerned had been decided in his favor. In order to square the score between the clans, the son of the man who had lost the suit had reported that he had seen this man carrying rice to the brigands. He had been arrested by the soldiers, partially killed, and left to lie in the glaring sun from nine o'clock in the morning until dark suffering the agonies of crucifixion. Not one of those who heard his moans dared to moisten the parched lips with tea lest he too be executed for having administered to a brigand.

The missionary returned to the city that night vowing that he would make a recurrence of such a thing impossible or he would leave China. He took up the matter with the authorities in Peking in a quiet way and later with the military governor in Foochow. He was well known to the brigands by reputation and visited several of the chiefs in their strongholds. They declared that they had confidence in him but none in the government - or its representatives. It was only after assuming full responsibility for any treachery that the brigands agreed to discuss terms.

Upon invitation to accompany him to the 24th Township, the missionary was escorted out to civilization by twenty-five picked men to whom the chief had entrusted an important charge. As the group neared the township the missionary sent word ahead to the commander of the northern soldiers to prepare to receive the brigands.


As the twenty-five bandits appeared upon the summit of a hill overlooking the city, soldiers could be seen forming into squads outside the barracks. Instantly the brigands halted, snapped back the bolts of their rifles, and threw in shells. The missionary realized that they suspected treachery and turning about he said, "I am the guarantee for your lives. If a shot is fired kill me first."

With two loaded guns at his back and accompanied by the brigands he marched into the city, where they were received by the officials with all the punctilious ceremony so dear to the heart of the Chinese. It had been a dangerous half hour for the missionary. If a rifle had been fired by mistake, and Chinese are always shooting when they themselves least expect to, he would have been instantly killed.

This conference, and others which followed, resulted in several hundred pardons being distributed to the brigands by the missionary himself. The men then returned to their abandoned homes and again took up their lives as respectable farmers. Thus the reign of terror in this portion of the province was ended through the efforts of one courageous man. It is such applied Christianity that has made us respect the missionary and admire his work.