Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
March 29th, 1889
Kobe (or Hiogo) Japan
My Beloved Angee,
We arrived at the above port early this morning making the voyage in just 3 days coming direct from Shanghai – our steamer the "Glengyle"is a fine new ship and I was the only saloon passenger – there was also a Mr Paton in the second class a very fine Christian man connected with the British and Foreign Bible Society in China for many years past and I had met him in Shanghai at some of the missionaries meetings and he was also at the Masonic Hall on Lord's day evening where I preached, so that I had a very pleasant companion during the voyage and he has kindly given me a circular letter of introduction to nearly every port in China where missionaries are located well known to him. He is en route to Yokohama, Vancouver and home to his wife and family in Scotland and I suppose this letter will accompany him as far as Liverpool and may probably reach you as early or earlier than the one posted at Shanghai a few days ago.
The Lord gave a very blessed time in the Gospel last Lord's day evening – the Masonic Hall is a large building and I was surprised to see the number that came – Mr Paton said nearly all the true Christians of Shanghai were present and there was a host of missionaries. I was greatly encouraged to hear that these were really blessed of God and one young gentleman in one of the European houses I had done business with came with another friend and he told me on Monday that he had never heard the gospel put that way before and he owned that he was simply astounded – I had not much opportunity of conversation with him as I was busy preparing to leave that evening but felt the truth had entered his soul in power, from the few words he spoke and the brokenness manifested – God in mercy grant that it may be so. I never realised the power of God in a meeting more in my life and there were many prayers going up to Him for blessing. After this meeting I returned with Mr Dyer with many others and supped hastily and then went to the mission room I had many times visited which was also crowded and the Lord was with us there too. A dear Western missionary called Warren who had been to the Hall and seems to have enjoyed the word spoke a little first – very simple but very real – he was stationed at a place called Hankow up the great river Yangtsee, but was down at Shanghai for a few days. On Monday evening dear Mr Hunter had invited me to supper and for a reading after and most of the leaders of this little Baptist Company were present – in speaking of the Lord's present interest and care over us I happened to say that I believed he was interested even in my going down on board the steamer that night (all my baggage had previously gone) and singularly enough when I was leaving one of these dear brethren called Banston and his wife had their carriage outside in readiness to drive me down. They came on board and saw my cabin and a few minutes after a lot of the dear sailors on board HMS "Constance" had come down to give me a greeting and owned how much they had been blessed in their souls. Well all this was comforting and I dare say you and my loved ones at home will find joy in hearing of it as I certainly had the fellowship with this bright little company. D.V. I hope to see them again on my return to Shanghai.
I have been moving about this place today calling upon the merchants and looking through the native parts – as usual the European and American portion are clean and well formed but the Japanese are (many of them at least) dirty and degraded to the last degree but very polite, excelling even the French in this art – the high hills around Kobe are very fine and the harbour which is very large is filled with shipping of various nationalities. This is the land of Rickshaws and I was regularly mobbed with them this morning and half a dozen more followed me a long way evidently much interested in the big foreigner and his hat – they are all very diminutive but appear very strong and I hear make nothing of running 50 miles a day with a rickshaw. Their faces are not good and remind me very much of the Malays. I am hoping to get a steamer to Yokohama Monday – it is only 25 hours run from here so, D.V. I may send my next cable from there on Tuesday afternoon. Expect to spend a week or so in Yokohama and Tokio[sic] then return here again and through the inland sea to Nagasaki – we missed this coming up, our steamer taking a direct course to Kobe. The weather is not quite so cold as at Shanghai – there was a sharp frost there the morning we left, I see by the English telegrams that you have had it very cold with snow and expect you have been glad to keep in doors and near the fire.
I must bring my letter to a close quickly as the mail closes in about 2 hours and I have just opened out all my show once more expecting merchants to call as promised. Shall hope to hear from you at Yokohama next week and trust in the Lord it will bring good tidings of you all and that you have not renewed your cold. This appears to be a lovely country and the scenery reminds me of Lynmouth – the season is just the change from Winter to Spring and it[sic] said to be the most trying time, but I have had a pretty good experience of changes of climate of late – God graciously bless and preserve you and all our dear ones my beloved Angee – much love to them all once more and to our dear ones in Barnstaple as I shall not have time to write them by this mail. Don't you think I am getting through the various countries very rapidly? When I look back and see the ground travelled over since August 2nd last I am amazed how I can have gone over it all and through mercy I can say Ebenezer from the bottom of my heart this morning. "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us". To Him be all the praise and all the glory Who alone is worthy to receive it because we have nothing that we have not received. God is the Giver of all good and now with much love to yourself my dearly beloved Angee believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband.