The Boxer Uprising: A Background Study

By Victor Purcell | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B
MISSIONARY ARCHIVES

Steiger has extensively utilized the records of the American Board, but British missionary archives have been drawn on only to a limited extent. I have therefore sought out references to the Boxers in some of the archives of the missionary bodies situated in London. All those missionary bodies that I approached (the C.I.M., L.M.S., S.P.C.K., C.M.S., and S.P.G.) expressed their willingness to allow me access to their records, but I have investigated only those of societies operating in the disturbed regions of Shantung and Chihli in the period relevant to my main study ( 1898-9).

The conclusion I arrived at after a study of the records of the London Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts confirmed the opinion I had already formed, namely that the foreign missionaries in general were not very closely in touch with what was happening in the neighbourhood of their mission stations and were taken by surprise when the storm burst around them, involving 'their converts' and themselves.

The following extracts from correspondence impressed me as being sufficiently important to transcribe for inclusion here. I would stress once again that they relate only to the pre-1900 period and there is a mass of material in the archives of the societies in question relating to the events of 'Boxer Year'.I

The following extracts from letters of L.M.S. missionaries in North China to headquarters in London relate to the earlier stages of Boxer activity:

No. 7175, of 24 January 1899. Dr S. S. MacFarlane2 (in Shanghai) writes to say that he has heard from Mr Rees that things are quiet at Hsiaochang.

No. 6886, of 28 May 1899. From Dr S. MacFarlane in Chichou to Mr Cousins ( London). '... Rees has doubtless given you full details about this Secret Society rising called the I Ho Ch'uan. Things are getting very lively when three fellows have to sit up at night outside the ladies' rooms with loaded revolvers prepared to make a firm stand if necessity demanded it. It was a memorable prayer-meeting at 1.30 a.m. when we knelt round Miss Harré's bed (she had been in bed three weeks Peill says with lumbago) and commend ourselves to His protecting care, knowing that greater was He that

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