Up the Poyang Lake (WCA) - description of lake and cities around it


October 12, 1874




The origin of the present troubles between China and Japan may be briefly stated as follows: Some twelve or fifteen months ago, the savages of Formosa committed a depredation on some Japanese junks, murdering about twenty men. As the island is under the nominal jurisdiction of China, the mikado's embassador at Peking represented the matter to Prince Kung, the imperial minister, desiring a redress of grievances. The prince replied, in substance, "O, if you want those savages thrashed, you had better do it yourselves." The Japs accordingly fitted out an expedition, a few months since, against Formosa, chastised the natives, and subjugated part of the island. The Chinese Government, finding they were about to occupy it permanently, became alarmed, and requested them to withdraw. The Japanese claimed an indemnity of several millions of taels before doing so, for defraying the expenses of the expedition. This being refused, they continued to retain possession of the conquered territory; whereat the indignant Celestials resolved to oust them by force. Both nations have been preparing for war, buying up iron-clads from foreign governments, and arming troops for the occasion. Six steamers, loaded with Chinese soldiers, have just left Chinkiang on the Yangtse, for the contemplated scene of hostilities. No formal declaration of war has yet (August 24th) been issued by either nation; but is not at all probable that the controversy will be amicably settled without resort to bloodshed.


Recently an elegant little chapel has been completed inside the city, where services are held twice each day. It is capable of seating more than one hundred and fifty people, and more than once has been crowded to its full capacity. Usually, however, the daily attendance varies from fifteen to forty or fifty. A smooth, solid wooden floor, covered with rows of benches; walls neatly plastered, and hung with ornamental Scriptural passages in Chinese; a beautiful white ceiling overhead; and a raised platform for the pulpit, surrounded by a strong railing, -- all make the room as attractive as most of the country Methodist churches in Ohio. The front doors open directly on the street, from which our daily congregations are all gathered. Connected with the chapel, there is also a neat school-room; a class-room, and rooms for the helper and chapel-keeper. The entire building was fitted up at a cost of about six hundred dollars.

By the late resignation of one of our number (Rev. J. Ing, who is now on his way to America), our superintendent has been left the only efficient foreign preacher in the field. The younger members of the mission have been able to do nothing, as yet, but apply themselves in mastering the intricacies of the language. We have not found it so

difficult as we apprehended; and in reference to myself, I have hitherto prosecuted its study with constant interest and delight. We are continually adding to the number of our probationers, and at almost every quarterly-meeting there are candidates for baptism. Some of our members give evidence of heart-felt piety; and we are assured that God is building up for himself a church in our midst. The young ladies who represent the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society have a good school, and are laboring faithfully, earnestly, and successfully. Let us have as many more such as the Society can send us.


About the beginning of July, a young man from the vicinity of Tungting Lake, Province of Hunan (distant three hundred miles), came to Kiukiang on a visit. Being a literary graduate of superior attainments, he had a great desire to become acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity, of which he had heard a good deal. As yet, he had never met a Christian teacher, or seen any of our books; but one day he happened in the city chapel while the helper, Chen Tso, was preaching, and was much interested. His anxiety to learn thoroughly the doctrines of the new religion was greatly increased by what he heard, and, introducing himself to the helper, he said he desired to spend some weeks in studying our religious "classics." Chen Tso directed him to the superintendent, V. C. Hart, and he was assigned quarters in a room near the library, in the mission building. Here he has remained ever since, supporting himself on his own resources, and plying his studies with astonishing assiduity. Less than two months have passed since he arrived; but he has already read the entire Bible through, together with what commentaries he could lay his hands on, and various other books religious and scientific. The walls of his room are covered with maps of Palestine, Asia Minor, etc., copied by his own hand, and with original notes and comments on all the different books of the Old Testament. He has attended faithfully on all our religious services, manifesting deep interest and the utmost respect, and in the Sunday-school Bible-class he has shown more extensive knowledge of the Scriptures than literary men who have been members of the Church for six years. His disposition is very lively and cheerful; so that when he is not reading he is quite sure to be singing, and he has a remarkable facility for acquiring foreign tunes. Evidently, he is actuated by a genuine thirst for knowledge; and the good sense and energy of character which he has displayed in his efforts to inquire after the truth have impressed us most favorably. If he should be soundly converted to Christianity, and experience the quickening power of the Holy Ghost in his heart, he might, under God's hands, become a flaming evangelist to his perishing fellow-countrymen. As yet, he is but twenty-six years of age, and we trust God has a work for him in this land. Will not the Church at home second our earnest prayers in his special behalf?

Kiukiang, China, August 24, 1874