Letter

Scope and Content

From Hankow. Has he written inadvisedly? He thought that he had shown restraint but apparently not. 'I am now on good harmonious terms with all the foreign colleagues, as far as I know. So let not the sun go down upon your wrath, for my sake'.

This week he started in with the theological class. He attends at 9am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. His first lesson was interupted half-way through by soldiers who wanted to billet a hundred men in the Blind School. Off and on they have been contending with them ever since. The latest attempt was this morning on the Institute. So far they have managed to keep them out but the situation is very unsettling. At various times this week, the military have tried to get at the following; the blind school, foreign houses, Institute and the Women's Hospital. They are living a day at a time and are thankful to still be operational.

Local political struggles during the last fortnight have brought victory for the extreme elements and for the moment Chiang Kai Shek has no standing here. It cannot end there of course. The conflict will continue within the [Nationalist] party until one of the factions wins total victory. Communism by its very nature cannot tolerate a rival.

The centre here is in the hands of the Hunan general Tang Sheng-chih. He is essentially a military rather than a political figure but is allied with the Communists in their struggle with Chiang Kai Shek.

The man Chang Chung Chang commanding the Shanghang troop is a fighting man [the rest of this sentance is unreadable]. After that and the fall of Shanghai it is possible that Chang Choh Lin's other main lieutenant Yang Yu Tring may come to terms with Chian Kai Shek on the basis of nationalism purged of Bolshevism. If that happens, they shall be at the end of the first phase of the struggle sooner than anticipated. No-one is happy these days, be they Chinese or foreign, soldier or civilian. It is the French Revolution without the guillotine as yet. Assassinations are however occurring in Shanghai just as they did earlier in Canton.

This is of course Chinese business. It is not for foreigners to interfere. If they want to live and work here, it must be in accordance with local conditions. Foreigners have been immune for many years, now they must feel the suffering of the people.

H B R is going to speak [preach?] tonight on 'The Cross of Jesus'.

They had a really good congregation this morning. The women are particularly good attenders. The Women's Hospital is full and the Men's is doing quite well. Dr Wolfe has gone to the Concession for a few days rest after an attack of the flu but hopes to be back tomorrow.

H B R doubts if it is possible to get a vote on the new church [arrangements?] much less make them work under present circumstances.

These poor people are more 'harried' than the Methodist missionaries and he feels very sorry for them. A large proportion of the chapels are now occupied by soldiers, the unions or any one of several other groups. The preachers are having a very bad time with the people disturbed but not abandoning their faith.

Spiritual matters are discussed.

Reference is made to his hope that Joan and Gordon have passed their 'inter'. Mrs Thorpe seems to be a little 'previous' about the housing business, but of course these things can take time.

He has started reading the bible 'in Moffat' again and is finding Genesis exceedingly interesting 'but curiously sexual'. There is certainly need of a new theory of the scriptures from that in which H B R and Emily were raised.

A Chinese friend was saying only last night that the missionaries have a good time here "The Missionary's home is heaven; the church worker's home is hell"...there is much in the whole political situation that answers to that charge'.

Had things turned out differently H B R might have been a Missionary Secretary and have his family with him in London .