Letter,1874.10.16

The overland journey from Tamsui to Taiwanfoo by Rev.Wm.Campbell

 

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The Messenger and Missionary Record [Feb.1st] 1875 p.43-44

甘為霖 淡水到台灣府/台南)九日行;惜在淡水未見到馬偕,但在內社/鯉魚潭和 「熟番」兄弟有好的交通,近南見各地在備戰。


From Rev. Wm. Campbell, Taiwanfoo, 16th October, 1874

Mr. Campbell( writes after his return from a visit to Amoy. He landed at Tamsui, in the north, but unfortunately missed seeing there the Rev. Mr. Mackay, missionary of the Canada Presbyterian Church, who was absent on station inspection. From Tamsui the overland journey to Taiwanfoo occupied nine days, considerable delay having arisen in crossing the numerous swollen streams, not so much from the depth of water as from the . broad low-lying mud-banks into which the bearers would sink at nearly every step.

“The brethren at our own northernmost station in Laisia I found still mourning over the sad end of Bunliong. My visit was quite unexpected, and therefore appeared to be all the more appreciated. The young Sekhoan helper who accompanied me and I remained with the brethren over the Sabbath, and it was pleasant to tell them of the work of Christ at those stations we had visited on the mainland. They were particularly interested in the little fiock in the large prefectural city of Chinchew, which it had been my privilege to visit with Dr. Douglas. The account also of the monthly missionary meeting of the Amoy Churches was well received, the idea of Christians thus meeting to hear the news of the Churches from sill lands, and to offer suitable petitions on behalf of the work throughout the world, being one which appeared to strike them as much in keeping with the spirit and command of Christ.

Fears of War. — We found the country all quiet during our journey south, which made us all the more thankful considering the unpleasant rumours which had been circulating in Amoy. On nearing Taiwanfoo one could at once see that the old place had become the centre of an unusual amount of activity.

A large new mud fort, over which one could see rows of white tents, had been erected on the execution ground ; the walls all round were covered with gangs of workmen busily repairing the breaches made by the recent heavy rains ; soldiers were moving about in all directions, and the gates were guarded by companies of armed men. Inside the city the most noticeable object was a large building which stands in a grassy park to the left hand from the north gate, and which is to be used as a powder magazine. The building is fine, surrounded on every side by strong double walls, and evidently well suited for its purpose. The trade of the city seemed to be going on as usual. I found it very refreshing again to join my colleague, and hear from him all the particulars of the work during my two months' absence. Our little churches are certainly passing through a time of trial in connection with this Japanese expedition.*

* This trouble, as our readers are aware, has now passed over.

Many of our own people are truly anxious as to the result of all these Preparations for war, While not a few of the surrounding heathen are Seeking to join us, doubtless, to some extent, under the hope of protection should disturbances really take place. Of course our plan is to receive this latter class with all readiness to the preaching of that precious life-giving Word which can make them wise unto salvation, and raise them quite above the fears and terrors of those who have no hope. Who knows but this may be the very means which God is now employing for the salvation of many who would not otherwise be brought to hear the Gospel. We hope you will remember us on behalf of these occasional hearers. In some places our chapels are crowded. Granted that many of the people are there through inferior motives — they are, nevertheless, listening to that Word which the Spirit uses in the conversion of precious souls.

 

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