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[Letter from Young John Allen (recipient unknown), February 18, 1869]
In the absence of somethinig better to send you frm this almost terra incognita, I venture to enclose two short articles relative to the Tallow Tree and the Spermaceti or Wax Insect. My connection with the two Chinese newspapers necessarily brings to my knowledge much that I would not otherwise encounter, besides facilitating many inquiries, which through them I make on a variety of subjects. Had I a liytle more time to spare, I might be able to furnish you many interesting articles translated out of the above papers. As it is however I fear I must quite if not altogether be deprived of that pleasure.
My plans are laid for another year and my work is now beginning. I continue in the Government school, and I also conduct the two papers as formerly. I am sorry the Board is in such a poor plight; but, under the circumstances, I cannot complain. I am satisfied with my present position and as long as I can keep it, shall be content. I shall do all I can to promote Christianity among this people, and encourage the cause of Missions at home. I am fully convinced that our people are not half alive to the interests of this great work. Would that all of them could have been here a few days since, during Chinese New Year, to see the superstition, madness and degradation of this vast city, almost wholly given to idolatry! But few, who may have seen it once, would ever forget it, and none would dare deny to these people that knowledge without which they are most assuredly perishing in their sins every day. But Shanghai is only one out of no less than two thousand such
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cities, equally populous, sinful and ----- lost. Our mission work makes haste slowly. However we are not without encouragement. Four persons have recently been received into the church by baptism, and there are still others on probation.
Indications of success are tempting enough to draw us into the interior, if the church at home would ever see fit to unbind us from this shore. We had hopes of entering certainly this year, but a recent letter from Dr. Cunnyngham, Act. Sec. Bd. F. M., discourages any attempt of the kinds, and necessitates further delay here. In the mean time, our labors are to a great extent secularized and we are but little better than local preachers. I would not have you understand that Bro. C. wishes us to stay here in preference to taking work where our labors would be more successful. He only advises us that there is no apparent hope of our being sustained, and that fact is equivalent to a necessary location. I have not time to give you the general news, but I will forward you the Shanghai News Letter, in which you will find all the latest items. Considerable stir has been occasioned here in China by the recent collisions of the English and Chinese at Suatow, Fuchow, etc. See News Letter. In haste.
Young J. Allen