From Wenchow. This is the place that [William Edward] Soothill made famous and which made him famous. H B R arrived on Thursday - 'It is a perfect dream for situation - a large plain, intersected in all directions by canals & surrounded by mountains. We went down one canal 80 li & back yesterday & I go walking tomorrow. The people are a little "pocket" of China, very religious & superstitius, who seem to have taken to xtianity with zest. The main church here will seat 1000 when packed & had 400- 500 there today. I preached in Kuan-Hua...yesterday we passed orange groves, pagodas, [unreadable word] & all the etcs of China - so different from the Hankow-Chicago, to which I am used. But it is nice to see Methodism & of course, other churches a really going concern. The missionaries here are very nice - most of them west country folk & Dr [Edward Thomas Arnot] Stedeford, with whom I am staying is a real gem - a cultured, well-read, gentleman, well-up in Theology as in other things & it is great to have the few days with him'. H B R will be leaving on Wednesday for Shanghai and after a stay of a day or two will be going on to Hankow.
He was asked by the Ningpo Conference to visit Yunnan and North China - he intends to make a complete job by also visiting Canton and Hunan. All that would cut into the Indian trip. They must just wait and see.
The weddings went off okay. At night [Mary] Andrews took H B R, [William Wildridge] Gibson, [John Howard] Stanfield and [James Maxwell] Gratton to see Fra Diablo at the cinema - a great and clean farce well worth Emily and the children seeing.
He is now about thirty-two hours from Shanghai on an ill-kept steamer. They would certainly have a bad time if the weather was worse.
H B R preached twice in English today and once in Chinese
- William Edward Soothill (1861-1935) was born in Halifax, Yorkshire. He entered the ministry of the United Methodist Free Church in 1882 and spent twenty-nine years as a missionary in Wenchow, China. Soothill was one of the foremost missionaries of his generation. During his time in Wenchow he founded a hospital, a training college, schools and two hundred preaching places. He was also an educationalist, translator and author of many books on China which earned him a reputation as one of the world's leading authorities on the Chinese language. In 1911 Soothill became President of the Imperial University at Shansi. Upon his return to England in 1920 he was appointed Professor of Chinese at Oxford University and in 1926 he was a member of Lord Willingdon's delegation to China on the settlement of the Boxer indemnities. Source: Minutes of Conference 1958 and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974).
- Edward Thomas Arnot Stedeford was the son of John Britton Stedeford, President of the Bible Christian Conference in 1906. Stedeford trained as a doctor of medicine and served as a missionary of the United Methodist Church in Wenchow, China, from 1914 to at least 1932 after which he disappears from the record. Source: Oliver Beckerlegge, United Methodist Ministers and their Circuits 1797-1932.