II W.A.P. Martin's Missionary Activities in China, 1850-1916 II was submitted by Shang Vee Sui Katherine for the degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in
W. A. P. Martin's Missionary Activities in China
( "1850 - 1916 )
Son of a Presbyterian minister of frontier
Scotch-Irish stock, W. A. P. Martin entered the Indiana University at th~ age of 15. There he encountered the
'common sense' philosophy of Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart. His aptitudes for languages and his faith in
rational scientif ic inquiry served him it,ell in his
later work in an alien culture. By givLlg an account of Martin's experience in his youthful years, it is
hoped that the first chapter will lead to a better
understanding of the nature of his activities in China.
By mid-nineteenth century, the Manchu rule
was on the verge of collapse in the face of domestic
rebellions and foreign invasion. Attempts to stabilize
the existing regime were made. Martin was one of those
influential missionaries who were active in the series
of reform movements in whi~h western ideas and values
were introduced. By tracing the development of the missionary movements in the_West and the problems
faced by the Ch'ing Court after the Opium War, it is
intended to arrange in the second chapter the historical
setting of the 'play' going to be presented.
Enthusiasm for preaching the gospel was usually the prime impetus propelling missionaries coming to China from a long distance away. Martin
was no exception. He spent his early days as an evangelist in Ningpo. After he moved to the north
in 1863, he had more opportunities in introducing
the essence of Christianity to the ruling class. In the third chapter, besides giving an account of Mar- . tin's effort in converting Chinese to Christianity, his evangelistic approach in comparison with his contemporaries will be evaluated.
When China was forced to come into contact with the West since 1842, she lacked both experience and techniques to deal w1f;.h the western powers in a modern world. As an interpreter to the United States' minister W. Reed, Martin witnessed the incapability of the Chinese officials in practising modern diplomacy. In the ~ourth chapter, it will be noticeable that Martin spared no efforts in introducing the international law to the Chinese.
A man of some intellectual capacity, Martin had a geniune interest in teaching as a profession. Eventually, it was the Chinese who benefited the
most from his genius for teaching when he was app-
ointed President of the T'ung-wen Kuan. The fifth
chapter will focus on Martin's prominency as an .
educator in China, and will attempt to assess the far-reaching influence he made upon the vicissitudes'
in modern Chinese history.
The Chinese literati and particularly the
Chinese Communist historians h~~e emphasized the ..
theme of 'imperialism' as the essence of western
religious activities in China. Was he really a
cultural imperialist indirectly helping his mother country to get a lion's share after the opening of
China? In the last chapter, it will be concluded that Martin, despite the role he played in the pro-
cess of modernization in the late Ch'ing period, was undeniably one of the most prominent intercul-
tural disseminator in modern history.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:martin w a p william alexander parsons 1827 1916 missionaries china
Date of Publication:01/01/1984