By Mary Vee
Year: September, 1868
Hudson Taylor: age 36
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
To our great regret, and for our safety, we moved the mission home across the river to Chinkiang.
This did not mean that we had given up on those who needed to hear about God's love in Yangchow. No indeed.
But when the rejection of a ministry puts so many people in harms way, a means to solve the problem must come first.
The main issue in Yangchow was the group of educated people who did not want the citizens listening to messages about God love because they would walk away from their idol worship.
According to international treaties, this educated group did not have permission to cause physical harm to foreigners. The British Consul received my letters explaining damages and injuries caused by the mob in Yangchow. British Consul General Medhurst responded right away and brought a commander and marines along with the French consul and frigate to our aid.
They all sailed to Yangchow, marched down the main street to the Prefector's house and requested to meet with him. "We are here to escort you to Nanking where you will meet with the imperial viceroy and state your reasons for not providing protection to the foreign missionaries when first asked."
I imagine this show of power scared Prefect Sun. He said, "I will go, but prefer to ride in my own boat instead of as a prisoner in yours."
The British Consul agreed. He and the soldiers marched back down the main street to their boat and sailed for Nanking. When they arrived, the viceroy greeted them. "It is my honor to welcome you, General Medhurst and those with you to Nanking." He served them tea while they waited for the Prefector.
Once the prefector arrived the meeting began. He didn't say very much in his defense. General Medurst made a list of demands to protect foreigners in Yangchow. It seemed the Chinese officials were willing to agree.
The process took more than a day. During this time the commander of the marines became very ill. He had to be taken to Shanghai for medical treatment.
When the meeting resumed the next day, the Chinese official served tea as before. The look on their faces, though, had changed. Without the soldiers present, the officials seemed fearless. "We don't think we can meet these demands and we no longer have time to discuss this issue."
General Medhurst returned to Shanghai to start the paperwork needed to have the Chinese do what they said they would in the treaty. This, unfortunately didn't promise any results. He wrote to his supervisors in Britain, keeping them informed of the situation.
The British military sent five gunboats up the river to Nanking to force the Chinese to follow the treaty agreement by protecting foreigners. When the Chinese officials saw the soldiers and gun boats, they immediately changed their minds and said they would honor the treaty.
On November 18, 1868 we held a huge ceremony to reopen the missionary home in Yangchow. British Consul General Medhurst and I were led through the streets of Yangchow in a parade led by the educated group of men and the mandarin. Two heralds marched ahead of us shouting to the crowd, "People-take care not to hurt the foreigners, or to call them 'foreign devils'. Give them the titles of great men."
We were taken back to our home, which had been fully repaired at the expense of the mandarin.
The leaders of the mob were arrested.
Perhaps this is a sign of peace in Yangchow where the mission can help the Chinese people in Yangchow not only with food and medicine, but also to learn that God loves them very much.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
Blessed by God even in time of torment
Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.