Missionaries in China
The tradition of mission work in China extends as far back as the apostle Thomas. However, in 1724 an edict was passed prohibiting evangelical Christian activity in China. The edict required all missionaries to leave, except those in attendance at the royal court in Peking. At the turn of the 19th century, the first Protestant missionary, Robert Morrison, entered China. The establishment of the Presbyterian mission in China followed in the 1840s with a few missionaries who followed Morrison's model. These missionaries were required to settle near the only port open to them, Singapore, until the end of the Opium War. The Treaty of Nanjing and its American equivalent, the Treaty of Wangxia, in 1844 allowed more missionaries to settle across China. Included in this wave of missionaries are those vital to our story. More background on these other missionaries is included within this exhibit. The mission in Canton (now Guangzhou) which the Noyes joined and documented life in was established by Dr. Andrew Happer, who settled in Guangzhou in 1844.
While there were other missionaries in the country when Dr. Happer established the mission at Guangzhou, that did not mean that Happer entered an established missionary community. However, after the Noyes arrived in Guangzhou, twenty years after the start of Happer’s ministry, the mission began to grow steadily and create a real community. As the mission continued to expand, it opened schools, hospitals, and churches around Guangzhou based on the experience, background, education, and passions of its various missionaries.
"Nanjing, Treaty of." In Chambers Dictionary of World History, edited by Bruce Lenman, and Hilary Marsden. 3rd ed. Chambers Harrap, 2005.
Speer, Robert E. 1901. "The Missions in China." in Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work.