Jean Racine.

The distressed mother: a tragedy, in five acts; online

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Class) who have devoted themselves to this unselfish life-work, our Class far outnumbers all other
Princeton classes. The Class of '79 comes second with five missionaries, followed by '76, *86, '93, '94
and '97 with four each. '81, '82, '92, '95 and '00 have three each. '72, '77, '78, '80, '83, '84, '90 and '99
have two each. Fourteen other classes have one each.

The missionaries from '96 are :

Henry Mimro Bruen,
Pierce Annesley Chamberlain
James Blair Cochran,
WtUiam Furman Doty,

John Pinney Erdman,
William Edmund Lampe,
Albert Howe Lybyer,
William Amot Mather,
Robert Maxwell,
David Park,
Charles Edgar Patton,
Samuel Robert Spriggs,
Edward Bates Turner,
George Henry Waters,
Charles Wesley Wisner, Jr.,
Charles Alexander Wilson,

Taiku, Korea (Presbyterian).

Bahia, Brazil (Presbyterian).

Hwai Yuen, China (Presbyterian).

jrom 1898 to 1900, PoH Clarence, Alaska {Presbyterian); from 1901 to 1902,

Tahiti, Society Islands, Ocean ica {Presbyterian).

from 1899 to 1903, Honolulu; since 1904, Yamaguchi, Japan (Piesbyterian)

Sendai, Japan (Reformed Church in the U. S.).

Constantinople, Turkey (Presbyterian).

Pao Ting Fu, China (Presbyterian).

Rawal Pindi, India (Presbyterian).

Laos Mission, Muang Nan, Siam (Presbyterian).

Canton, China (Presbyterian).

Point Barrow, Alaska (Presbyterian).

Kohala and Honolulu, Hawaii (Presbyterian)

Swatow, China (Baptist).

Beirut, Syria, 1896 to 1899, {Presbyterian).

Financial Agent for United Presbyterian Mission in Egypt, Alexandria


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" Bruenslair," Taiku, Korea, Asia, December 8, 1905.
"To 'Ninety-Six in the wide, wide world."

My dear Classmates: —

For three years I staid arotind the familiar parts, taking in a football game when the Tigers
came to New York, or ninning down to see that the Old Town was still there. Then I took my departure
to the "Far East," and have been on this side of the world now for the last six years, save for a visit
home, in which I singled the globe and doubled myself. Retiuning with my bride via Europe and Suez,
we began to drive down our pegs at Bruenslair. On February 1, '05, Anna Miller Bruen arrived.

It gives one a sort of Rip Van Winkle experience reversed to suddenly step from New York in
the twentieth century A.D. to the days of the patriarchs in the twentieth century B.C. And yet what
was yesterday the twentieth century B.C. is to-day groaning imder the first travail pains of Western
civilization. Arriving here in September, *99, I found myself on the edge of the tidal- wave of the " East-
em problem." There yet remamed one old world kingdom untouched by the mighty wave which was
lashmg the western shores of the Yellow Sea. For one brief moment, the *' Land of the Morning Calm"
seemed secured against the on-rush. Arriving in Chemulpo harbor, I found that the American "iron
horse," the advance guard and sure precursor of Western civilization, had nearly covered the distance
of twenty-five miles to the capital. Climbing aboard with my faithful companion Mark, an English
retriever brought with me from Seattle, he shared with me a delightful feeling of home as I read "Wilm-
ington, Delaware" on the inside of the car door. The great iron bridge across the Han River was still
imfinished, so we transferred ourselves to a little "prairie schooner" on trucks and presently two nearly
naked coolies steamed up behind and we were moving on. At the river bank we were taken " pig-a-back
to a ferry boat and poled across to the other side, where we found still another mode of locomotion in
the waiting "jinrikshas," which took us the last three miles up to the city. After some ten days stay
here, returned by boat to Fusan, the southern port, and thence one hundred miles, a three days' journey
by back-pony into the interior to Taiku. Passing under the great South gate, I presently foimd myself
descending from my pony in front of the little thatched mud house that was to be my bachelor home.
In February it became necessary for someone to go to the port to repack into portable sized boxes some
elephant boxes from " Montgomery Ward," Chicago. It was the day before Washinjjton's Birthday, and
Sidebotham, a Princeton "Sminole, " and I started with a Korean boy and my foldmg canvas boat on a
coolie's back and a small store of provisions and some bedding on another coolie, for the Naktong River,
ten miles distant. The gathering darkness foimd us searching the banks for an inn at which we might
put up. As none could be foimd, we finally tied up to an old river boat that was beached for the winter.
As I stepped aboard, the first glance was reassuring, for the bottom seemed perfectly dry and over the
middle portion was a thatched roof that would ofrer some protection. However, I was soon unreas-
sured, as stepping out on the dry smooth bottom of the boat, my feet slipped out and I barely escaped a
nasty tumble. What I had taken for the smooth dry bottom of the boat I foimd to be a sheet of ice
covered with dust. Tearing off some of the thatch from the roof and placing it over the bow, we crawled
up into the prow and, sandwiched in there with our boy, we managed to make out the night someway.
Early morning found us stamping up and down the frozen beach, trying some homeopathic treatment
on our stiffened limbs. Turning to our canvas boat, we found that some water had leaked in and become
frozen over night. We turned the boat upside down and knocked out the ice, and having thrown in some
thatch and replaced our goods, we started off. We had not gone more than five hundred yards when
we found the boat was leaking badly. Landing, we removed our stuff and hauling out our boat we found
a nasty tear in the prow. Getting out our repair kit, we set to work with a big needle and a piece of
canvas to patch it. But it was powerful cold working before sunrise, and our stiff fingers almost re-
fused to pull the thread. We were making some progress when my companion was seized with a cramp
in his leg, and rising up quickly his foot caught m the thread and tore another rent which by dint of
perseverance we finally sewed around, and smearing on oil we launched her and proceeded on our way.
Twice we found the river frozen from shore to shore. Once, tr)ring to break our way through, we had
made a canal some fifty yards long till we reached a projecting rock, which obscured our path. We
tried to get out on the ice, but while it was now freezing, the ice had rotted under the noon-day sun and
would not bear up; so we tried to retrace our way to the open, rebreaking the ice which had frozen be-
hind us, till at last we made our escape to the shore, where we had to carry the boat some three hundred
yards to the open water below. The fourth day found us landing, and having secured a cow we packed
our goods on her and started five miles across the hills to Fusan, which we reached without further ad-
venture. After attending to business we hired ponies and returned overland.

Until last fall we were in most part shut off from the world, the only white people, with the ex-
ception of two French priests, in the province and nearly the only ones who had ever been there. A
year ago last August I was sitting in my study, when suddenly, as if suddenly awaking from a dream, I
started to my feet at a sound so strange and yet so familiar. Was it possible? Was not this Korea?
with its city walls and gates, its beggars and lepers without the gate? Rebecca might even now be seen


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going to the well for water, Ruth gleaning in the fields behind the reapers, and sharing with them the
noon-day meal. That sotmd of things seemed far away and so out of place in this patriarchal age.
As the railroad whistle sounded again, surely the old top-knots turned over in their graves, for it meant
that the Eastern question, which had been moving Eastward for a century, had passed the barrier of the
Yellow Sea and was sweeping over the land of the Morning Calm, ere long to seek settlement from the
Mikado's kingdom.

With the sinkine of the two Russian cruisers in Chemulpo harbor, the war was on and it seemed
that Korea was, as so often in the past, to be the battle-ground of opposing armies. The Japs, however,
moved with such rapidity and precision that the battle-ground was ever moving northward. Within a
few weeks the Russians had retreated across the Yalu. We down here in southern Korea never saw
hide nor hair of the Russians, and after the battle of Chemulpo no Jap troops were landed south of that
point; so that we did not see many Jap soldiers, the only sign of war being the feverish haste in the
construction of the Seoul-Fusan R. R. The loading and unloading of rails went on continuously, day
and night. With the opening of the railroad, we have felt ourselves to be again in the world, for now
we have frequent visits from globe-trotters and friends. This fall we had the honor of entertaining
Miss Roosevelt and party over night. From the governor down, the city turned out to show their
appreciation. And speaking of notables, Hon. Billy Bryan, I hear, is now in the country on a trip around
the world. "With the incoming of the railroad, the Japs have flocked into Korea. They are not a
very desirable class, especially the coolies. The Koreans have suffered a great deal from them. Stores
have sprung up Uke mushrooms, until Japanese shops now line the principal business streets of the city.
In Seoul there has been considerable disturbance with the high-handed way the Japs were seizing pro-
perty and lands. Now we are living under a protectorate. The foreign legations are closed and all
diplomatic business must be conducted through Tokio. What effect this will nave on our work remains
to be seen.

As for my work here, it has been very encouranng. When I came six years ago there were
less than half a dozen Christians in this province of a mimon and three-quarters ; there are now some-
thing over two thousand. I have pastoral charee of a congregation of over twelve hundred, scattered
among forty villages, and the work has been doubling yearly. I usually get around twice a year. This,
with the class work in the city, keeps a fellow hustling. I always take my gun along and keep myself
supplied with fresh game, though the Christians send m chickens and eggs and fruit. There are duck,
geese, swan, doves, quail and pheasant throughout most of the year. We have large game, wild-hogs,
leopards, and deer, in the mountains near us. Some of the boys who are in these parts are Ned Turner,
Tim Cochran, Charlie Patton, Buck Waters, Maggie Mather, John Brdman and Will Lampe. Of these I
hear from Ned and Jimmie occasionally.

Yours for '96 and the glory of old Nassau,


P.S. — The Japs are putting two wide streets through the city and have already torn down places
in the old city wall for them. There being as many outside as inside the wall. There are said to be some
sixty thousand people in Taiku, which is the third city in Korea. Had a jolly Christmas. You know
of our Princeton Alumni Association of Korea. I see a notice of our dinner in last Alumni Princetonian,

H. M. B.


Patton is a missionary of the American Presbyterian Church at the Yeung Kong Station (Canton
Mission), in Kwang Tung Province, South China. The territory in which he works measures sixty by one
hundred miles, and contains a population of two millions. "Pat" superintends thirteen chapels, of
more than six hundred members, and has charge of four schools and two hundred pupils. There are
thirty-three members in the various stations of the Canton Mission. Patton has been honored with
several offices, the chairmanship of the Mission (twice),the treasurership of the Station, and was Delegate at
Shanghai, September 19, 1905, from Kwang Tung Province to the Committee on Union of all Presbyterian
bodies in China.

Charlie was married in 1899 to Miss Edith R. Carswell at Baltimore. They went to China that
year. In August, 1900, at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, they were obliged to leave their station at
Yeimg Kong and go to the city of Macao, on the coast, for safety. Their little daughter, Edith Carswell
Patton, was bom in Canton, in March, 1902. Mrs. Patton died a month afterward at Canton, of cholera.
That year Charlie returned to America for a six months' stay. His little girl is now living with her
grandfather, Mr. Carswell, at Baltimore.

Patton's bulletin of January, 1906, reports the massacre of five missionaries in the coimtry near
his station. He sa3rs:

*'It is about four days' journey down the river to Canton, although it requires about three weeks
to go up from Canton against the river current. Couriers overland brought the news down in four days'
time. There is a telegraph from Canton to Ying-tak about two days' journey from Lien-chow. The


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news reached Canton Wednesday afternoon, November 1st. Thursday a relief party of native soldiers
and three foreigners set out to bring down the two survivors. They were met en route, and all came in

"As to the cause of this trouble, we are prepared to say nothing. Several theories have been
advanced. An investigating expedition, under the Consul-General and a representative of the Chinese
Government, went up to Lien -chow to investigate on the ground. Until their report is made public
it would be imwise to anticipate. Nobody knows yet, and all statements are but guess work.

"It is generally felt that this affair was entirely local. There is as yet no evidence to the contrary.
On the other hand, the fact confronts us that a general and widespread feeling of soreness has been in-
fused into the masses by the American boycott agitation. Whether it had any part in the Lien-chow
catastrophe will doubtless be discovered later. The danger is, however, that when news of such affairs
may reach other isolated parts, the ignorant part of the natives, who have learned something of the
fact that all is not well between China and America, in their misconception of facts may cause trouble.

"Withal we do not fear. God is omnipotent here as well as elsewhere. We cannot fathom His
purpose in permitting such a blow to His cause here ; perhaps it is His prelude to a blessing — who can say?
We trust Him to make all clear. We are taking every precaution possible, avoiding risks, working
more quietly, cutting off some phases of activity for a time, and prayerfully, in duty's paths, awaiting
His leading and further developments. So far as Yeimg Kong is concerned, it never seemed more quiet
and favorable to us. We are in close touch with the leaders of the people, with the officials and with our
Canton friends, ready to act according to the emergency. We are assured of your constant prayers for
our safety. In this, and the assiu-ance of His presence and protection we feel safe."

In connection with his work, Patton publishes the Yeung Kong Station Bi-Monihly, a littlefpamph-
let which is regularly sent to American friends of the mission. He sends us this picture of the pastor
and four elders of the Yeung Kong Church.



tells of a part of his work in Japan in the following article, reprinted from th^ Japan Gazette, Jan. 8, 1906:
"Here in Sendai we hear much of the famine that exists in the surroimding coimtry districts, but
the city is only indirectly affected and while we have the poor always with us, their number has not very
materially increased because of the famine. To see the worst, however, we do not need to go far. The
chief of Kuribara Country, who is the brother-in-law of a very dear friend of mine, a gentleman who
was a student with me at Princeton, recently made the statement that his county is the worst in this
ken. Some friends having recently sent a sum of money "for immediate distribution," Dr. Forest and
I went last week with this in hand, on the invitation of the head official of Kuribara County, to see this
bad spot of the famine region.


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"So far, relief works have not been begun except by a few philanthropic individuals, but after
work is begun, even the able-bodied must rest many days, when snow is falling or on the ^und. The
nations of Europe and America do not as governments dispense charity, and here at this time in Japan
there is as yet no provision for the sick and aged and those who, for any reason, cannot work.

"For five years I have been secretary and treasurer of the Sendai community's poor relief com-
mittee, which annually uses about three liundrcd yen among the poor of the city, and three years ago I
was treasurer of the Miyagi Ken Famine Relief Committe. I know more than one poor family whose
main food the year roimd is what is left over in the dishes of the soldiers in the barracks, and have
seen many cases of poverty. Officials had recently given us samples of the food being eaten by the
poorest of the poor, out I must admit that I was hardly prepared when we suddenlv entered one house
to actually see a child eating a mixture of boiled leaves and chaff. Breakfast had been made of this
stuff by the whole family and there was still some left in the pot. Some of the food we saw on this
trip was of a sickly green color and my stomach was almost turned at the sight of it.

"Among the poor there are some who still manage to get a little cheap rice to mix with the daikon
for one of the meals of the day, but we were in the homes of many who now have not a grain of rice
even once a day. A large number of families are trying to live on an average of two sen per member
per day. My experience with such people leads me to beUeve that it is not wise to give them money, at
least not any large sum. Sometimes kind-hearted people do as much harm as good in their attempts
to give aid. With the very poor, a little at a time is a good rule, so, no matter what the circumstances,
we did not give more than one yen to any family.

"We recently asked the chief of the Tax Bureau of these three ken what is the main cause of the
poverty of so many people in this region, and he replied that while some are lazy and some wicked, the
great reason is the size of the families. The whole world knows that the poor have more than their
share of children. The Japanese have a proverb, bimbo ko takusan — the poor have many children. They
have also a persimmon which they call bimbo kaki — poor man's persimmon, because it has very many
seeds and contains very little that can be eaten. In Kuribara County the average family consists of
more than seven members. One town we visited has a population of a little more than five thousand ;
and seventy-three per cent, of all the families are said to be in need of aid. There are only two of the
twenty-nine towns and villages in the county worse off than this. In one house into which we entered
we saw a man who is trying to support a family of seven on about twelve sen a day, which he and his wife
earn by making of twigs the bundles into which charcoal is put. He is a peasant and has no other
work. Here is a family in real distress. The morning meal had been daikon leaves and bean husks."


Mather's family write of his work 'in China :

"Of course, almost the only work a new missionary can do for the first year is to study the language,
a very difficult proceeding. William studied his best and got along well. He soon began to help in little
ways; also went on itinerary trips into the mountains, ninety miles away, with Mr. Killie, a veteran
in the work. In this way one gets to know the Chinese better than in any other. Near the close of
the second year, he came home to be married to Grace Burroughs, a classmate of his in the Hartford
Theological Seminary. On his return to China, he took charge of the boys' school, teaching and having
a complete oversight of everything. He goes, every Sunday, to an out -station, ten miles from Paotingfu,
to carry on religious services there. He is able to preach in Chinese now, and is getting hold of the
language well. He also goes off to this station in the mountains to preach and hold 'inqmrers' classes,'
as he has just done in the depth of winter. He is very happy in his work, and seems to think it pajrs."


Samuel Robert Spriggs is a missionary of the Presbyterian Church and a teacher in the Govern-
ment school at Point Barrow, Alaska. This is the mosl northerly point in Alaska occupied by white
people, and the third northernmost mission station in the world. Mail reaches there only once or twice
a year. Trout writes about Spriggs' work in study of the Esquimaux language and translations: "The
tnbes at Point Barrow are probably of Asiatic origin. These Esquimaux have a distinct language
which has not been reduced to writing. Spriggs has prepared for printing most of the New Testament
and, while in this country, made some arrangement for its publication. He went back to Alaska largely
for the sake of completing the work. So far as I know there is nothing in print about the work."


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Spriggs wrote a long letter to Trout in 1904, most of which follows:

Barrow, Alaska, July 21, 1904.
My Dbar John:

My memory fails me as to whether I wrote you last fall or not. I rather think not.

You know when I saw you last, we were to travel part way on the "Thetis." Instead we came
up from Nome on a whaling ship, and lucky it was for us that we had the opportunity to do so, other-
wise we would probably not be here, for the "Thetis" did not come up within two hundred miles of
here, and we might have wintered down on Seward peninsula or some other equally undesired locality.
The hand of the Lord was in our getting that invitation while in Nome to come up with the captain
of the " William Baylies." Missionaries and whiskey proverbially are shipmates together, and you may
be assured we did not break the rule.

I hope never to be on a ship, too, when there is so much ice as we encountered. We were nearly
crushed once, and well-nigh all on board thought it would be a case of "good-bye." That was a hundred
miles below here. We had picked up a native woman whom we knew, who wanted to come up to this
village. When we were in straits, I said to her: "When we break, you will put the baby in your 'atee-
gee' won't you, and carry him as we try for the shore?" She could clamber and scramble over the ice
far better than Mrs. S. or I could. She said "Yes," then added, "You will pay me well for this, I suppose,
won't you?" Such are some of the people with whom we live and work. I would emphasize some,
not all.

But we reached here safely. The ship could get to within about a mile of the shore, and that
distance we walked over the ice, part of which was moving floating cakes, to have tarried on which
would have been to sink. So, safely landed ourselves, we sat down to wait the final disappearance of
the ice and the coming of our supply ship — and we are waiting yet! But we did not go hungry last
winter. One of the whaling ships outfitted to winter near McKenzie River. The Lord changed the
captain's mind ; he decided not to winter, and so had a good, fair supply of household stores, from which
he was willing to spare us some. This, with what we got from one or two other ships, at least met our

Our coal was on the "Thetis" and that of course failed us. That failure we met by getting
some from the whaling vessels, some from the trading station situated here, and some from the coal
banks about a hundred miles down the coast. Gospel and school work have gone on just the same
as usual. We have added seven to the Church, with more than that yet to be admitted, who have asked,
besides a good nucleus for a C. E. or Yoimg People's Society for another year.

The school has not been as large as some years, because many people have moved away to nearby
settlements and some have gone across the river we all must go across, carried off by an epidemic of
measles, the fall we went down. The reindeer prosper and multiply and are furnishing already some
skins and meat for their owners. In course of time they will be a great source of food and clothing.
Fawns come with yearly regularity, but whales do not always, and no whales means hard times — a
condition existent at present.

Next year ('04-'05) we will very likely be here alone again, as Dr. and Mrs. Marsh and family
intend going out. Whether anyone will come to take their places I do not know — rather doubt it. So
I shall be aU sorts of things, Teacher, Missionary, Reindeer Superintendent, U. S. Commissioner (which
unites Justice of the Peace, Probate Judge, Coroner and Notary Public!), and on occasion, Doctor.

Online LibraryJean RacineThe distressed mother: a tragedy, in five acts; → online text (page 6 of 27)