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Quaker in Canton: Dr. William Warder Cadbury's Mission, 1909-1949 Gary M. Restaino* Background The first missionaries in China were mainly British and American Protestants taking advantage ofBritish hegemony in Asia. In Canton they were representedby the Medical Missionary Society, an evangelical union ofProtestants. Working through Canton Hospital andLingnanUniversity, known in English as Canton Christian College, they provided medical attention and training to residents of the city. These missionaries recognized that it was crucial to first heal the wounds ofthe bodybefore treating infections of the spirit. There were initially no Quakers working in Canton. British Friends began in West China, complemented by Ohio Quakers in the Central region. Yet not all Quaker Meetings participated in a direct approach to missions. The Orthodoxbranch ofthe Philadelphia YearlyMeeting (PYM) still held strong feelings against ministers and proselytizing. Douglas Steere has called this attitude "a fresher and deeper spirit," the remains of a formerly universal call among Friends for personal piety and simplicity (Interview, 16 November 1989). As a result, PYM had no societies or communities in China; rather, independent groups within the Meeting aided good works. Dr. William Warder Cadbury benefited from this arrangement. Graduated from Haverford College in 1 898 and the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1902, he practiced and taught medicine in Philadelphia for a few years. As a member of the University of Pennsylvania Christian Association, however, he was recruited to serve in the new Medical School in Canton. He left in 1909 not as a Quaker or a missionary, merely as a physician and teacher, in order to "institute in Canton instruction in medical science according to the practice ofmodern civilization , and incidentally the promotion ofChristianity, as way may open" (qtd. in The Friend 82: 239). For much of his stay in China, members of PYM contributed to The Cadbury Group, raising about $2000 annually to subsidize his missionary endeavors (Lingnan News 15.2: 2). As early as 19 10, the focus for his work had expanded to include a religious endeavor as well as medical philanthropy, one man bringing his personal view of * Gary M. Restaino is a law student at the University ofVirginia. He would like to acknowledge the research help of Paul J. Smith, Elisabeth Potts Brown, and Diana Franzusoff Peterson, and of Mary Hoxie Jones for the use of archival sources and an informative interview. 2 Quaker History Quakerismto China. Dr. Cadbury'sQuakerfaithandspiritualityweresoon directing his philanthropic efforts in Canton, a city historically beset by conflict and confusion. For centuries the power structure in Canton hadbeen in flux. Nominally loyal to the Peking emperor, Canton deferred to Portugal and Britain in its economic affairs. Following the Opium War of 1842 the British consolidated their position of dominance. While still bound by restrictions on travel anddomicile, missionaries were protectedby Britishprestige. When Dr. Cadbury first arrived in Canton in 1 909, the city was still walled, ruled by imperial officials who tried to keep foreigners outside ofthe main gates. Having lost much oftheir central power, however, the Peking government ceased to monitor local organizations, leaving the foreigners free to develop relief efforts in the relatively tolerant Canton atmosphere. The missionaries lived either on Shameen Island, a tiny strip of land in the middle ofthe Pearl River, or on Honam, a larger island to the east and the home ofLingnan University. This removal from Chinese daily life distinguished the southernphilanthropists from their missionary counterparts in the north and west. The Canton Christians were seen by the Chinese as merely aiding, not infringing upon, their society. Fortunately for the citizens of Canton, their natural surroundings enabled them to survive the growing disorganizationthatwouldcharacterize the next forty years. Josiah McCracken, the leader ofthe University of Pennsylvania mission, recognized the economic value ofCanton as a port city. Whampoa Harbor enveloped much trade for the region, and a temperate climate enabled the Cantonese to earn profits from vegetables, hemp, jute, and fishing. Rather than travelling to an area of visible desperation, Dr. Cadbury and his associates had chosen a comparatively prosperous environment, removed from the famines of Northern China. Working under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Christian Association, with its financial contribution of $35,000 per year...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 1-17
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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