Blessed are the Peace-Makers

Blessed are the Peace-Makers

 

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By Rev. Duncan Ferguson (宋忠堅牧師) Tai-wan-fu(台灣府), October 2nd, 1895.  
From:China and Formosa: the story of a mission / by the Rev. Jas. Johnston. 1898. p.326-329; added by LES.,

Blessed are the Peace-Makers.

Mr. Ferguson writes thus" Tai-wan-fu, October 2nd, 1895.

" For about ten days or so many of the Tai-wan-fu(台灣府) people have been coming imploring us to try and mediate between them and the Japanese, who were gradually approaching. We felt almost powerless in the matter. We also thought a matter of that kind ought to be done by the Consul. We knew our Consul had already tried to mediate between Liu Yung (劉永福)and the Japanese. The Japanese had shown a willingness to treat with Liu. They appointed Saturday, October 12th, at 12 noon, as the day and hour when they would be willing to consider the matter with Liu on board their flagship off An-ping(安平). The day and hour came, and at 1 p.m. the Admiral's ship anchored off An-ping. Liu himself would not go out, but sent a subordinate, who had no power. With this subordinate the Japanese refused to treat. They sent Liu a message that they would remain off An-ping till 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 13th. If Liu came out, good and well; if not, they would regard him as hostile. Liu did not go out. He was afraid if he went on board a Japanese man-of-war that he would not come off with his head on ; he also dreaded showing himself to the Japanese, because afterwards it would be much more difficult for him to escape.

" On Sunday, 20th inst., forenoon and afternoon, Mr. Barclay (巴克禮) and I (宋忠堅)were besieged by merchants and other leading men, imploring us to do something. Mr. Ede (余饒理)went to An-ping to see what could be done on the arrival of the fleet, then expected there. On the Sunday afternoon a large number of merchants and chief men of the city came to us again. They said that Liu and all their magistrates had fled, and that soon the city would be in the hands of the rabble. Mr. Barclay and I agreed to act as their messengers to the Japanese, now marching north from Ta-kao.(打狗.高雄) Sixty men were sent to protect our compound during our absence. We had with us an escort of seventeen Chinese ; two Christians also accompanied us. We had just started from the compound

when a man came along leading three Japanese horses as presents, which no Chinaman dare accept. One of the horses had a saddle, so we took him with us and rode in turns. Near the little South Gate(小南門) a ' black flag ' was fluttering before an officiars house. Some of our company ordered its immediate removal. Outside the gate there was a man carrying a gun and a belt full of cartridges. He was promptly

disarmed, and sent into the city.

" About a mile from the gate we came across a dead Japanese horse. The Japanese and Black Flags had been fighting there that morning. We came soon to a house, where preparations were going on for the evening meal. When the people saw our lights they ran off, evidently thinking we were the rabble. We went on a little bit farther, when some of the Chinese complained they had not had any supper, and proposed to stop for the night ! We told them they must go on till we came to the Japanese lines. A little farther on a Japanese horse began following us. We had walked about five miles, and were approaching a village called Ji-chhian-hang, when suddenly we heard a peculiar

summons. Barclay and I at once knew it was the Japanese sentry calling on us to halt. We ran forward with a light, held up our British flag, and called out we were English,

" A lot of soldiers came running forward, fixed bayonets, and stood pointing at us .Soon an officer, who could speak a little English, came forward. We managed to make him understand our mission. Then the Chinese were bound together by their turbans tied round their waists. One Chinaman said to us he was tied very tight, and if he got any supper that night he would be very uncomfortable I We were then conducted to an officer. By means of an interpreter he got all our information about Liu(劉永福) having run off, and the people of Tai-wan-fu inviting them to enter in peace. Then we were handed on from one officer to another till 3 a.m. on Monday. We were then told by General No-gi (乃木將軍)that the army would start at 5 a.m. for Tai-wan-fu. We had about an hour's sleep before the start. Mr. Barclay (巴克禮)and fifteen Chinese were put in front to lead the army and tell the people to open the gates. I and four Chinese were placed in the centre of the army. It was a lovely morning — clear and cool. The sight of the thousand Japanese infantry and cavalry, marching in single file, following

Barclay and his barefooted Chinese, was one to be remembered.

" I was accommodated with a Japanese charger, for which I was grateful. The road into Tai-wan-fu usually is very busy, but that morning over the whole five miles I only saw one man, and he was a good distance from the road. It was with a thankful heart that, as we approached the city, I saw the Japanese flag hanging over the South Gate, and knew that the occupation was to be accomplished without loss of life.

" When I got to the South Gate (南門) I considered my part of the work was finished, so I dismounted : but the General called on me to remount and come on to Liu's yamun.

There was nothing for it but to obey. A Scotch Missionary riding through Tai-wan-fu streets among Japanese cavalry was to my mind a little too ludicrous. Every few steps some long-robed gentleman, who on the previous day would almost gladly have signed my death-warrant, came forward and with a deep bow thrust his card into my hand. And so Tai-wan-fu and Formosa are now in the hands of the Japanese. I am

thankful to think that in God's hand we Missionaries have been the means of saving many lives.

" Liu, who had resisted the Japanese in Formosa when the Chinese Government gave in, kept the enemy at bay for months with a handful of followers and showed what could have been done if the Chinese had been properly led by patriotic men.

These are hard to find under a foreign despotism. We are glad he escaped.

" It is said that Liu went on board a steamer or a junk, at 5 a.m. on Sabbath morning, disguised as a woman nursing a baby, and thus escaped the vigilance of the Japanese. It is only fair to add that during his six months' rule in South Formosa, he has treated us foreigners most kindly, and in the city he has kept perfect order."

 

 

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