Page images

sive and profitable trade with China ; and several of the enterprising merchants of that country being men of eminent piety, worthy efforts have been made by their means to promote the cause of Christianity at Canton, especially among the American and British seamen visiting that port; and for several years the

66 American Seamen's Friend Society” have had a “ Seamen's Chaplain,” at Whampoa, the principal harbour for merchant ships. That gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Stevens, has happily succeeded in his mission; but such is the number of British and American seamen in China, that now he is solicitous to have a coadjutor from England, to settle at the port of Lintin, about fifty miles from Whampoa. We trust that this solicitude will soon be met by means of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, aided by the liberality of the wealthy merchants in Great Britain.

The following appeal to the “ Friends of Seamen in England,” by the Rev. Mr. Stevens, transmitted to one of our Directors, the Rev. Dr. A. Reed, by the Rev. Mr. Parker, an American missionary at Canton, cannot be read without feelings of ardent sympathy with the contemplated object; and it is hoped that it will conduce to its accomplishment, by calling forth the liberality of the wealthy Christian merchants in England.


Canton, January 11, 1836. The following communication of my brother I am desired to forward. To whose kind care can I direct it better than to you, my dear Sir, of whose interest in the spiritual welfare of our race I have abundant proof? To the sentiments of this letter I most cordially subscribe. It has also the full approbation of Brother Bridgman, and of our mutual friend, Mr. Olyphant. It is addressed to no sect or party, but to all the friends of seamen. May I request you to see that it is presented to such, whether organized bodies or others, in the manner you deem best? It is at your disposal. I need not say with what pleasure I shall receive a letter from you, and also Dr. Matheson, to whom I desire kind remembrance. I have only time to add, Yours, in the bond and service of Christ,

“ PETER PARKER. “ A. Reed, D.D., London.

FATHERS AND BRETHREN,-It has long been my wish to write to the friends of seamen in England in behalf of their seafaring countrymen in this port. Three years of labour at Whampoa have served to show me somewhat of the need, as well as the opportunity, of Christians in Great Britain doing something for the welfare of the souls of seamen here, and glorifying our Father in heaven. It is since the opening of the China trade especially that opportunities for exertion have been extended and multiplied, and the urgency of the case become more pressing. But, besides the great number of the foreign seamen, one other circumstance chiefly makes it apparent that the means at present in operation for bringing the Gospel to them must be greatly inadequate. I allude to the fact that a considerable part of the foreign shipping in China anchors at Lintin. During some months of the two last seasons the feet there has been nearly equal to that at Whampoa. Several ships are always lying at Lintin, and for a time during the last years as many as fifty sail have been riding at anchor together there, with one to two thousand seamen. Nor do the majority of these merely stop for a pilot, but often lie there for months, where there are no port charges, and provisions are more cheap, awaiting the opening season for teas and silks. Many vessels also discharge and receive their cargoes at Lintin, without coming to Whampoa at all. Now the distance of these two places (about fifty miles) precludes the possibility of discharging the duties of chaplain at both stations at once. I therefore look around to discover other means of supplying the feet at Lintin. Most naturally my hopes fix on that country from whence come the majority of the seamen, and where Bethel meetings first began.

“ The amount of British shipping in China during the last three years I take from the published account, and from the Canton Price Current. The number of vessels under the British flag arriving there in A.D. 1833 was 107. In 1834, 158; the tonnage 82,472 tons; and the seamen, of all grades, probably between seven and eight thousand. Thirty or forty of these were the country ships,' manned with natives of India, but officered by Europeans; thirty of them the Company's large ships; and eighty or ninety free traders, with European crews, from fifteen to fortyfive in number. The returns for the last year are not yet complete, but I have enumerated near one hundred and eighty vessels during the year under the British flag. At


the present time, though so late in the season, there are nineteen sail at Lintin, and forty-eight in Whampoa Reach, fifty of which are under the British flag. The annual arrivals under the American flag vary from fifty to eighty sail, with crews of fifteen to thirty men. Several other flags are seen also, as the Dutch and French, Danish, Hamburgh, and Prussian.

“ After this brief statement, persuaded that you will be of the same mind with myself respecting the necessity of occupying that station, I will venture to throw out a few hints as to the practicability of doing something for seamen at Lintin. Whenever Dr. Morrison spent a sabbath there, he was accustomed to hold Divine service on board some ship. On several occasions within two years, when I have been at Lintin, I have hoisted the Bethel Flay; and the call has been answered by an attendance of fifty to an hundred persons. The inquiry has been more than once made of me, why we do not have a chaplain there as well as at Whampoa. In general, the same course, perhaps, may be pursued there as with us, better means are provided. This course includes preaching on the Lord's day, forming Bible classes, making the acquaintance of commanders and officers, calling on the crews upon the Sabbath for the purposes of conversation and distribution of Bibles and tracts, visiting the sick, and burying the dead. Though it is important that your chaplain be of no nation, yet I cannot forbear mentioning the encouragement I have received from various English captains in this work. It is now more than a year since I was first invited to preach under the British flag, since which I have had public worship in English vessels fourteen times, and at present have invitations from others. Lintin is decidedly more healthy than Whampoa. Owing to the jealousy of the Chinese government, no hospital nor floating chapel has yet been obtained at Whampoa; but no difficulty of this kind exists at all at Lintin. Every one there does that which is right in his own eyes.

The chaplain at Lintin will also reside among the fleet, while this is but partially practicable at Whampoa, no stationary vessels being allowed here.

“ While a chaplain of the right spirit, pleasing manners, good talents and education, and of some practical wisdom, might safely count on finding some friends, and having most of the ships open to his efforts, he will still find occasion for strong faith in our Almighty Saviour.


Intemperance, licentiousness, opposition and indifference to true religion, are on the ground before him, and are to be disloged by the soldier of the cross. Intemperance, I trust, is beginning to give ground. Within the last two years more than one hundred vessels have been here, where no spirits are given to the crews; and it is now a long time since I have seen a single American vessel which allows any ardent spirits to officers or people. Still the reformation is but begun, and the most extensive and fatal evils to seamen have intemperance as their fruitful

The hearts of men are not changed by coming half round the globe, and the same, therefore, may be expected here as in our native lands, except that here is less of salutary restraint. I need not say how gladly I should co-operate with your chaplain, so far as we could act in concert, or aid each other.

“ The object of this letter then, brethren, is to induce the friends of seamen in Great Britain to send a seamen's chaplain to Lintin. I perceive that the American Seamen's Friend Society, who commissioned me, have spoken on the same subject; but for many reasons I supposed it better that one should come from England to occupy that station. A copy

of this letter will also be sent to the Society in America, and I am sure that it will be only too pleasing to them to learn that no occasion exists for their sending hither another chaplain. The necessity and feasibility of the plan proposed leaves me nothing further to say, honoured brethren, than simply, Shall it not be carried into immediate EFFECT? Are there not men and means enough? Though aid may be expected from friends in this quarter, yet that subject of course will be put beyond contingencies by the Society at home. The expense cannot be great. My drafts on our treasury have not exceeded an average of five hundred dollars per annum; but my expenditures have been of late much more than that. From one American house in Canton I have received a passage to China gratuitously, board at their table one year at the same rate, lodgings to the present time free of expense, besides other donations in cash at various times; and, if the Lord has so opened the heart of one man, it is no credulity to believe that the Christian men of England, who derive their wealth from the instrumentality of seamen, will come forward to support this enterprise.' Much do the wealth and power of England depend on her seamen ; but the souls of these mariners, the salvation of their souls, who is there, the world over, to care for it, to look after them, to speak them kindly, and show them the way to the Saviour of the world? Age after age we have neglected them, and they have neglected themselves; and now they are far from God, living in sin, dying in misery, and passing away beyond the sweet voice of mercy for ever. But here a watchman may take his post, and warn them of danger, and guide them into safety.

" I do not suppose, that, after the claims of this enterprize are fully considered, there can be a failure for want of the proper man to send as chaplain. Besides saving the souls of men, and elevating the now degraded character and situation of seamen, his success will tend to wash away the stain of evil examples from the Christian name; and he may in time become directly useful among the Chinese with whom he has intercourse. If any worthy minister of Christ should hesitate in his choice on account of the privations which he must experience in taking this station, let me entreat you, my brother, to remember, first, that no allowance for difficulties was stipulated in your surrender to our adorable Redeemer; second, that He who has all power has promised to be with you always, even to the end of the world;' and, third, that many may spend their hast davo ond otronath horo in numit inf that which satisfieth not; nay, that even females have spent many years at Lintin, and are constantly resident there. “ And now I beseech you, brethren,

come over and help us ;' for there is a great and effectual door opened, and there are many adversaries. And 'say not to thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give thee, when thou hast it by thee;' for, before I can hear your reply and come again,' a second year will be on the wing, and the hand that now writes you may be stiff in death!

“ Yours in Christ, Whampoa, China.


“ Seamen's Chaplain.”

ungu wasli Nurung aduan

114 puisui VA

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



THE WRECKED SHIP, FRANCIS SPAIGHT. Ordinary considerations are sufficient to prove the importance of promoting among seamen the saving knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And every argument

« PreviousContinue »