Forty Years in South China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Forty Years in South China.

“This part of Amoy island is rugged and mountainous, and interspersed with large granite rocks.  Some of them are of immense size.  It is in such a place that the city has been built.  Many of these rocks are left in their natural position, and overhang the houses which have been built among them.  The ground has not been leveled as in Brooklyn, consequently the greater part of the streets are uneven.  Some of them are conducted over the hills by stone steps.  Near our residences, one of the public streets ascends a hill by a flight of thirty-six steps.  On account of this unevenness of the streets as well as their narrowness a carriage cannot pass through the city of Amoy.  Instead of carriages the more wealthy inhabitants use sedan chairs, which are usually borne by two bearers.  The higher officers of government, called ‘Mandarins,’ have four bearers to carry them.  The greater part of the inhabitants always travel on foot.  The place of carts is supplied by men called ‘coolies,’ whose employment is to carry burdens.  The houses, except along the wharves and a few pawn-shops farther up in the city, are one story.

“There are no churches here, but there are far more temples for the worship of false gods, and the souls of deceased ancestors, than there are churches in Brooklyn.

“Besides these, almost every family has its shrine and idols and ancestral tablets, which last are worshipped with more devotion than the idols.  In consequence of their religion the people are degraded and immoral.  One-third of all female children born in the city of Amoy are slain.  In the villages throughout this whole region, it is supposed that about one-half are destroyed.  They do not exhibit sympathy for each other and for those in distress, which is enjoined by the Bible, and which, notwithstanding all its defects, is the glory of Christian communities.  I have seen a man dying on the pavement on a street, almost as densely thronged as Broadway, New York, and no one of the passers-by, or of the inhabitants of that part of the street, seemed to notice him or care for him more than if he had been a dog.”


Another letter to the same congregation a few months later reads: 

“The first impression on the mind of an individual in approaching the shores of China from the south, and sailing along the coast, as far north as Amoy, is anything but favorable.  So great is the contrast between the lovely scenery and dense vegetation of many of the islands of the Indian Archipelago, and the barren and worn-out hills which line the southern part of the coast of China, that in the whole range of human language it would seem scarcely possible to find a more inappropriate term than the term ‘Celestial’ whereby to designate this great empire.  Neither is this unfavorable opinion removed immediately on landing.  The style of building is so inferior,

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Forty Years in South China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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