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A New Method of Transcribing Hakka Colloquial. MR. EDITOR
Like most of the missionaries at work in China, we Germans have from the beginning felt the most serious disadvantage accruing to the bulk of native Christians, by the usual versions of the Bible being in a style which is not easily intelligible to them. We have, therefore, as has been done for others of the dialects spoken in the S. E. of China, begun by romanizing the Hakka colloquial, as we had convinced ourselves that even grown-up people can, with very little labour, acquire a sufficient knowledge of this system to be able to read books written in it. So we have prepared the N. T. and a number of school-books after this method, the former being printed at the cost of the English and Foreign Bible Society in London, the latter from the mission funds of the Basel Society.
But after nearly twenty years of much effort and a great amount of money spent in this direction, we have been somewhat disappointed at the results attained. Grown up people could not as a rule be induced to learn the romanized method, and even those who have gone through our schools, though they are often using that system for writing letters to each other, still they do not read the New Testament in the romanized if they read it at all, preferring to use the Wên-li version, which they have been instructed to use when in school, but which nevertheless most of them understand but imperfectly.
As on the other hand it is of paramount importance for all Protestant mission work, to place the Word of God within the reach of every member and to facilitate the intelligence of the same as much as possible, we have thought about other means to reach that much desired end. We have tried to write the Hakka colloquial with Chinese characters. That which had prevented us from doing it, from the very first, was the circumstance that it includes so large a number of words for which there exist no characters at all. But this difficulty has now been overcome. We have taken from the Punti colloquial a number of unauthorized characters which have already become more or less familiar by being used in publications in the latter dialect, for other sounds we have simply used characters which are read in the same or a similar way, only adding sometimes the character "mouth" on its left; so we have used for "I," for "to give," etc.
As far as our observations go, this new method of transcribing their colloquial meets with much more favour from our Hakka Christians than the romanized one. We feel therefore ourselves encouraged to continue this undertaking, and hope that some more parts of the New Testament will be made ready this year for the press.
As this question of placing the Bible within the reach of every Chinese Christian is one of so general importance I think it would be a very appropriate subject to be discussed in the Recorder, as it would be very useful if the different missions in which one of the systems or both of them have been made use of, would communicate in its columns the experiences they have made in this respect.
Births, Marriages & Deaths. Evans, Jessie Findlay, and Annie
M. Hayward, of the China Inland
Per str. Djemnah, on April 16th, Mr. J. William Munroe Macgregor, of the Inland Mission.
AT Amoy, on May 9th, the wife of Mr.
Ar Amoy, on May 23rd, the wife of Rev.
AT Peking, on May 30th, the wife of J. DUDGEON, M.D., London Mission, of a daughter.
AT Hangchow, on May 31st, the wife of
Ar the British Consulate, Ningpo, on
21st June, by the Rev. J. Colville,
Ar Peking, on the 29th June, the Rev.
F. D. GAMEWELL to MARY Q. PORTER, both of the Methodist Episcopal
ARRIVALS.-Per str. Saghalien, on
DEPARTURES.-Per s.s. Nagoya Maru,
Per P. and O. str. Gwalior, for England, on May 5th, Mr. and Mrs. Valentine, of the C.M.S., Shaubing.
Per str. Genkai Maru, for the United States, on May 11th, Mrs. S. F. Woodin and three daughters, of the A.B.C. Mission, Foochow ; and Mrs. A. E. Randolph, of the Southern Pres. Mission, Hangchow.
It has just doubled in five years. The statistical report of the Fuhkien mission shows total of 4,099 adherents, an increase of 549 in the year. The adult baptisms have been 264."
PEKING. The last two or three meetings of the Missionary Association have been occupied in discussing a paper read by Dr. Dudgeon, entitled "Some recent aspects of the Opium Problem." We understand Dr. Dudgeon has a work in Press styled Opioligia, or a History of Opiumsmoking, comprising various papers on opium, some of which have already appeared in print. To each chapter will be prefixed a table of contents and index, and judging from the close attention given to this subject by the author and the exceptional opportunities he has had for gaining information, we have no hesitation in saying that the work will prove a most valuable addition to what has already appeared on this topic. Orders for copies may be addressed to the Presbyterian
The following memorial has been drawn up by the Peking missionaries and will be sent to the different mission stations thoughout China for signature. It is a most important document, and it is hoped every missionary will sign it. The views expressed are moderate and it is likely to produce a good effect:
To The Honorable The British House of Commons.
enslaves its victim, squanders his substance, destroys his health, weakens his mental powers, lessens his self-esteem, deadens his conscience, unfits him for his duties, and leads to his steady descent, morally, socially and physically.
The petition of the undersigned Missionaries and Ministers of the Gospel in China Humbly Sheweth :
That the opium traffic is a great evil to China and that the baneful effects of opium smoking cannot be easily over-rated. It
That by the insertion in the British treaty with China of the clause legalizing the trade in opium, and also by the direct connection of the British government in India with the production of opium for the market, Great Britain is in no small degree rendered responsible for the dire evil opium is working in this country.
That the use of the drug is spreading rapidly in China and that therefore the possibility of coping successfully with the evil is becoming more hopeless every day. In 1834 the foreign import was 12,000 chests; 1850 it was 34,000 chests; in 1870 it was 95,000 chests; in 1880 it was 97,000 chests. To this must be added the native
growth, which in the last decade has increased enormously, and now at least equals, and according to some authorities doubles the foreign import.
That while the clause legalizing the opium traffic remains in the British treaty, the Chinese government do not feel free te deal with the evil with the energy and thoroughness the case demands, and declare their inability to check it effectively.
That the opium traffic is the source of much misunderstanding, suspicion and dislike on the part of the Chinese towards foreigners, and especially towards the English.
That the opium trade, by the ill name it has given to foreign commerce and by the heavy drain of silver it occasions, amounting at present to about thirteen million pounds sterling annually, has greatly retarded trade in foreign manufactures; and general commerce must continue to suffer
while the traffic lasts.
That the connection of the British
government with the trade in this pernicious drug excites a prejudice against us as Christian missionaries and seriously hinders our work. It strikes the people as a glaring inconsistency that while the British nation offers them the beneficent teaching of the Gospel, it should at the same time bring to their shores, in enormous quantities, a drug which degrades and ruins them.
prevent your Honorable House from performing what is plainly a moral duty.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your Honorable House will early consider this question with the utmost
care, take measures to remove from the British treaty with China the clause legalizing the opium trade, and restrict the growth of the poppy in India within the narrowest possible limits.
Your Honorable House will thus leave China free to deal with the gigantic evil which is eating out her strength, and will at the same time remove one of the greatest hindrances to legitimate commerce and the spread of the Christian religion in this country.
We also implore your Honorable House so to legislate as to prevent opium from becoming as great a scourge to the native races of India and Burmah as it is to the Chinese; for our knowledge of the evil done to the Chinese leads us to feel the most justifiable alarm at the thought that other races should be brought to suffer like them from the curse of opium.
We believe that in so doing your Honor able House will receive the blessing of those that are ready to perish, the praise of all good men and the approval of Almighty God.
And your petitioners will ever pray.
TUNGCHOW.-The Annual Meeting of the A.B.C.F. Mission opened on the 28th May. Shansi has been decided on as the scene for the new mission's operations, and two houses have been rented at Tai-yuen fu to accommodate, Rev. M. L. Stimpson and several additional families expected this year. Mr. Stimpson, accompanied by Rev. J. Pierson, mode a tour of the province during March, and they were everywhere well received. It is proposed to transfer the printing-press and the Treasurer to Tientsin.
in China has not in the least damped her missionary enthusiasm, forms one of this brave little party. We wish them great success in their new operations.
This same mission is taking a step forward in Shantung. Several of their missionaries are now preparing to settle themselves there, and live down the ill rumours that were spread abroad by the officials. Miss Mary H. Porter, whose long residence
CHI-NAN FU.-The Presbyterian Mission have so far failed to obtain any satisfaction from the Government in the matter of new premises for those mobbed some time ago. During May the United States Consul, Mr. Zuck, paid an official visit in reference to this matter. He claimed the original property with full protection, or a suitable and reasonable exchange. The objections raised on the part of the officials to returning the original property were threefold-the site, the purchase being made in the name of a native Christian, and the deed not being stamped. No other suitable place was offered, so nothing was done. The matter however, will not be allowed to rest here. On his return journey, Mr. Zuck was mobbed at a village called Têh-chau. We have learned indirectly since, that the chief official of this village has been deposed, one of the leading rioters publicly punished, and a proclamatin issued warning the people against committing any further violence.
We also learn that the two middlemen in the sale to the missionaries of the ground used for the grave of the Rev. J. MacIlvaine have been severely bambood to secure the giving up of the deeds and the land. One of the leading native Christians has fled to Peking for safety.
SWATOW.-We have received the following items of news regarding the Mission of the Presbyterian Church
of England: The first meeting of the Swatow Presbytery took place on the 8th and 9th of June last year. There were six foreign missionaries and thirteen Chinese Elders present. Rev. Geo. Smith, our senior missionary, was chosen Moderator, and two of the native brethren were appointed clerks. Various matters of importance were discussed, and committees were appointed. The action taken at that first meeting in regard to the subject of native contributions has resulted in a decided increase in the amount subscribed for the support of native preachers. The Presbytery sent deputations (usually consisting of one foreign missionary and two Chinese Elders) to the greater number of the congregations to urge the members of the church to do more in this matter than they had yet done. It was gratifying to find, at the second meeting of Presbytery, held in September, that a sum of over $500 had been subscrib. ed by fifteen congregations. Of this sum $170 have been contributed by four of the congregations that have united to call a native pastor. Besides the above named sum, contributed solely for native preachers and pastor, a considerable amount has been given by the converts for station expenses, the support of the poor, and other special objects. The movement to call a native pastor is making hopeful progress. The choice of the four congregations has fallen on Tan Khai-lin, the first convert of the Mission, baptized by Mr. Smith so long ago as 1859. He has commended himself to the native church and to the missionaries by his steady, consistent Christian character, by much useful work as a preacher in various
parts of the Swatow field, and by meek endurance once and again of reproach and ill-treatment for the Gospel's sake. In the region around Swatow 15 stations have been opened among the Hok-los, or people speaking the Swatow or Tie-chiu dialect, and 9 among the Hakkas. The most distant station is about 120 miles to the west of Swatow. Last year 107 adults were received into the Church, and the total membership of adults and infants at the close of the year was just 1000. Of these, 713 were communicants. In the training institution for preachers there are at present twenty students; in the middle school for boys there are 40 scholars; and in the girls' school 25; in the Biblewomen's House there are 7 women under instruction. Since the beginning of this year 32 adults have been baptized, and 2 who were baptized in infancy have been received to Communion. Of the 32 baptized, nine or ten are patients who first heard. the Gospel in the Swatow Hospital. The Medical Mission work has from the very beginning been a fruitful means of blessing. For many years Dr. Gauld carried on this good work, and now it is in the hands of his likeminded successor Dr. Lyall. Year by year converts have been received from among the numerous in-patients who crowd the wards of the Hospital, and some of these on their return to their own homes have been in a remarkable degree instrumental in bringing their heathen neighbours to a knowledge of the truth.
FooсHOW.-Rev. S. L. Baldwin, D.D., being unable to return to his work at Foochow at present, on