Friday, September 11, 2009 | By: Rudi Butt

Drug Money To Fund Printing Of Bible

Updated on November 25, 2009
There are only two streets in Hong Kong that are named after Protestant clergies. Morrison Hill Road (摩理臣山道) in Wanchai is named after the first Christian Protestant missionary to have come to China – the Scottish missionary Robert Morrison (馬禮遜) [1]. Gützlaff Street (吉士笠街) in Central, between Lyndhurst Terrace and Gage Street, is named after the first Lutheran missionary to China (1831-1851) – the Prussian born Karl Frederick August Gützlaff (郭士立 later on 郭實腊) (1803-1851).

As if still living in the era of the
Spanish Conquistador, Gutzlaff
had no problem, as it seemed,
helping a foreign invading army
against the very country he was
sent to assist on an unjust cause,
and proliferating opium to people
whose souls he vowed to save.
The legacy of Gützlaff: He translated, together with three other collaborators, the Bible into the Chinese language [2]. He assisted in the negotiations during the Opium War and in the British occupation of Chinese territories fallen into British forces. In the fall of 1832, he accepted an arrangement with William Jardine, the medical-doctor-turned-agency-merchant-turned-opium-smuggler, to interpret for Jardine's opium transactions up and down the China coast in exchange for being permitted to proselytize after hours and, for money he would use to print the Chinese Bible he translated. He would continued this arrangement until April 1833.

►  Gützlaff learned Chinese when he was in Java in 1826, sent there by the Netherlands Missionary Society. Before landing in China, he was in Singapore and Siam. Incidentally, he was the first Christian Protestant missionary to have worked in Siam.

►  Gützlaff had been associated with Henry Pottinger since the later arrived in China and took charge of the armed conflict with China, later know as the Opium War. Gützlaff was appointed civil magistrate in Chusan (Zhoushan, 舟山) following the British occupation of the island. Gützlaff anglicized himself as Charles Gutzlaff.

Gützlaff was the first Missionary
to have dressed as a Chinese
►  Following the establishment of the Hong Kong Government in 1843, Gützlaff became the Chinese Secretary. There were records that show Gützlaff was appointed to a commission in 1844 to consider and recommend compensation to villages whose ancestral burying ground were to be relocated to facilitate a major drainage improvement project for Happy Valley. Gützlaff did most of the work interviewing the villages and attempting to ascertain current values.

► European living in Hong Kong in the early years were accustomed to hiring watchmen to guard their residences and warehouses because robberies were very common. From March 15, 1844, Gutzlaff spent two hours each day in the morning to provide a service to potential employers to enquire into the character of any watchman and to issue his certificate in respect of those he believes to be honest.

►  Gützlaff founded the Chinese Evangelization Society (中國傳教會) for the purpose of sending religious workers to China. In 1853, Hudson Taylor (戴德生), from England became the first missionary to be sent to China by the Society. The society was disbanded in 1865. Gützlaff was honored the name "The Apostle of China".

►  Gützlaff died in 1851 and was buried at the Hong Kong Cemetery.

►  Books written by Gützlaff:

- Journal of Three Voyages along the Coast of China in 1831, 1832 and 1833, with notices of Siam, Corea, and the Loo-Choo Islands
- A Sketch of Chinese History, Ancient and Modern
- China Opened
- Life of Tao Kwang
[1] Robert Morrison was the father of John Robert Morrison (馬儒翰) (1814-1843). Born in Macao, the young Morrison lived a celebrated, though short life. He published the first English newspaper circulated in Hong Kong – The Hong Kong Gazatte – in May 1841 and the first English newspaper published and circulated in Hong Kong – Friend of China – in 1842. He was the chief translator for Henry Pottinger during the negotiations of the Treaty of Nanking. He became Pottinger's secretary when the later assumed governorship in Hong Kong. He was appointed the first Colonel Secretary in June 1843, and the first Official Member of the Legislative Council in August of the same year. Days after the Legislative Council appointment, Morrison died from sickness at the young age of 29. Gützlaff worked under Morrison in all affairs relating to the British and Hong Kong governments.

[2] Cooperating with Walter Henry Medhurst, Elijah Coleman Bridgman, and John Robert Morrison, Gützlaff set out to translate the Bible into Chinese in 1840. The translation of the Hebrew part was done mostly by Gützlaff , with the exception that the Pentateuch and the book of Joshua were done by the group collectively. This translation, completed seven years later, is quite remarkable due to its adoption by the revolutionary peasant leader Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) of the Taiping Rebellion (太平天國) as some of the reputed early doctrines of the organization.

"When we sold the Heathen nations rum and opium in rolls,
And the Missionaries went along to save their sinful souls."

The Old Clipper Days
-- Julian S. Cutler


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