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[Letter from Young John Allen to the Church Board, December 9, 1868]
Dec. 9, 1868.
Missionaries are constantly arriving from England and America. Scarcely a month passes that does not chronicle an addition to our forces. The interior is gradually becoming occupied, and the aspects of our general work all along the coast line are brightening. Toleration is everywhere proclaimed, and the country is now decidedly open and inviting. Mobs, violence and persecution, sometimes, however -- as recently as Yangchow and Formosa -- are still experienced, but their effect rather stimulates than abates the progress of our work.
We are anxious to see our stations multiplied, and had hopes that early reinforcements would enable us to move abreast with other missions, but recent letters from the Secretary of the Board and Brother Smithson quite disappoint our expectations in that respect, and in the mean time our only native preacher has sickened and died, leaving us almost helpless and hopeless.
By the mail just in, we are in receipt of a small remittance from the Treasurer, which has been appropriated to paying off the balance of our debt, which is now reduced to a minimum. But he gives us but little encouragement for the future. What are we to do? For ourselves we have resolved the question: We will never abandon the China mission. You can't starve us out. The siege has lasted seven years, and though it last as many more we will not surrender. But perhaps you -- I mean the church -- are too well satisfied of that already; hence do not concern yourself about it.
Under the circumstances I am not able to preach much, but am doing the next thing
to it -- teaching and printing. From nine
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till twelve o'clock I am engaged in the Anglo-Chinese school, which consists of forty young men, who are looking forward to appointments as the future ministers and consuls to Western nations. They are of the higher and better class of Chinese society, and I have so far succeeded in gaining their confidence that I have no hesitation in pronouncing the school under my control and influence. I shall not give it up again voluntarily. Every other afternoon, from one o'clock till five P.M., is devoted exclusively to the tri-weekly newspaper, of which I am editor. It is a secular paper, chiefly occuupied with the news, foreign and domestic, scientific instruction, etc., and advertisements. It has numerous readers, and through it I hope to instruct a large number in the knowledge of the truth, and thus, by removing the basis of many of their superstitions, prepare them for the truth as it is in Jesus. They all know the editor as a Kiau Sz. The balance of my time is employed editing the Native Church Intelligencer, our only church organ, of which I am also proprietor. It has met with wonderful success, and has been most highly commended by our oldest and foremost missionaries. The native churches are delighted with it, and the native preachers heartily support it. It is taken by all the missions, without exception, and circulates at all the ports and in the interior, wherever there is a native preacher. You see, therefore, that I am fully employed, and perhaps as usefully employed, and as successfully as is possible.
As a teacher and editor, I have access to all classes, and that constantly. If
the Board wishes me to release the school and papers
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I will do so, provided they will enable me, without distraction, to do something better. But until then I shall never voluntarily surrender my present position before this people, thirsting for knowledge and dying without salvation. Under the circumstances I need to apologize for brevity and haste.