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From the School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Part 1: James Hudson Taylor Papers: Correspondence and Journals

"More than any other human being, James Hudson Taylor, ….made the greatest contribution to the cause of world mission in the 19th century."

Ralph D. Winter

Founded in 1865 with the goal of evangelising China’s inland provinces, the China Inland Mission (CIM) refused to appeal for funds. Instead, it demanded that all of its missionaries learn the Chinese language, wear Chinese dress and find a way of living without a guaranteed salary. Its representatives were international and interdenominational, and chosen for their spirituality, rather than their education, social class or gender.

Parts 1 and 2 of the CIM archive make available the papers of its remarkable founder, James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), who was raised as a Methodist in Barnsley, and converted to evangelical Christianity at the age of 17. While his close colleague, William Thomas Berger (1815-1899), was in charge of matters in England, Taylor was in charge of the mission’s work in the field.

Part 1 provides all of his journals and letters, starting with his work for the Chinese Evangelisation Society in Shanghai, 1853-1856, and Ningpo, 1857-1860. The papers go on to cover the foundation of the CIM and his return to the mission field in China, right up to his death in Hunan province in 1905.

The CIM began its work in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, just as China was opening up to foreigners. Many missionaries encountered resistance, but through its work in education and medicine, and through its policy of becoming part of the local community, it achieved some degree of success. Nevertheless, it was hard hit during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 when many of its members were targeted.

There are details of life in Canton, Hangchow, Ningpo and Shanghai and accounts of the riots in Anking in 1869, Chekiang in 1875 and Szechuan in 1895. There are travel journals, exchanges with other missionaries in the field, and detailed letters home describing the progress and setbacks of the mission.

There is much on women missionaries with papers concerning Mary Ann Aldersey (1797-1868), the first woman missionary in China, Maria Jane Dyer (1837-1870), a school teacher in China who became Taylor’s first wife, and Jenny Faulding (1843-1904), who sailed with the first party of CIM missionaries in 1866, and became his second wife. During the Shanxi famine of 1877-78 Jenny Taylor led other women in relief work, while her husband was forced to attend to administrative matters in London.

This is an excellent source for all those interested in missiology, the progress of evangelical Christianity, interactions between East and West, and the social and cultural history of China.


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