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[Letter from Young John Allen (recipient unknown), September 15, 1868]
Sept. 15th, 1868
Persecution seems to be the order of the day just now in China and Japan. The churches are extending into the far interior, and our influence is being felt: and just in proportion to the progress we make, the more and fiercer opposition we meet. The heathen are always ready to rage, and the people are never satisfied with imagining a vain thing.
Recently, at three different stations, two in the interior and one on the island of Formosa, near Amoy, quite threatening disturbances have taken place, resulting in the maltreatment of both foreigners and [added] native Christians, the destruction of private houses, preaching places and considerable property pertaining thereto. Fortunately, the places are accessible to foreign consuls, and they are more disposed than formerly to see that the several articles of the treaties relating to toleration shall be efficiently adhered to. It seems that the literati -- otherwise called "gentry" -- have in nearly every instance instigated such attempts to expel foreigners and their teaching. How flimsy and false their pretexts for such onsloughts, you may judge by the following just brought to light by the Yang Chow outrage.
Mr. Taylor, an English missionary, together with several others, among them three
or four women, had just commenced their labors at that city. They had opened a
school, and he (Mr. T.), being a physician, was charitably dispensing his
medicines, etc. It was not long, however, before the mob attacked their
premises, destroyed their house, compelling the women to leap from the second
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story of the house, and all to make their escape from the city as best they could. Several of them were wounded, and one young man had an eye knocked out. The reasons assigned for this strange proceeding were that Mr. T. was dispensing medicines which confused the minds of the people, changed their likeness, if not their hearts, and was the means of inducing them to join the church and become foreigners; and further that since the opening of the school eight or ten young children had disappeared in the community, and must have been eaten by the missionaries. They further alleged that foreigners plucked out the eyes of the dead for some unknown purpose -- and report says that many corpses have just been exhumed to satisfy those interested as to the pro or con of that assertion.
It seems that the attack on the missionaries and native Christians in Formosa originated from similar stories. I have heard them myself at Shanghai, and in the country at one of my preaching places, distant about twenty miles. I had an interesting attendance dispersed by a young man who came in my absence and sowed the seeds of consternation in their minds. Verily, darkness covers the land, and gross darkness the people. It is by means of the two newspapers that I am now conducting that I hope to do most toward opening the eyes of the people to the truth, and shedding upon them a knowledge of that true Light which enlighteneth the world. More anon.
Yours truly,Young J. Allen