U 5.322-6: Same notice on the door. Sermon by the very reverend John Conmee S. J. on saint Peter Claver S. J. and the African Mission. Prayers for the conversion of Gladstone they had too when he was almost unconscious. The protestants are the same. Convert Dr William J. Walsh D. D. to the true religion. Save China’s millions.
In exasperation he laments that “the only thing certain is our total ignorance of the real population of China”.1
Father Conmee would have known that Jesuits were the first to organise missionary expeditions to China, leading to the arrival of Matteo Ricci and his fellow mission workers on the mainland in 1582, in an outreach effort which continued strongly into later centuries. Predominantly non-Christian, China became increasingly important area for evangelising mission work not only by Jesuits, but by other Catholics and by Protestants and others.
Bloom saw the notice about China's millions on the church door, but the most likely, though indirect, source for the popularity of the expression “China’s millions” in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century is a Protestant magazine of that name, published continuously from July 1875 until 1952. China’s Millions was published by the China Inland Mission, a Protestant missionary group founded in 1865, and since 1964 known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship.3
The exclamatory “Save China’s millions” was an expression with a history.
1 Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society (1827), vol. 1 pp. 12-14, cited here from the earlier Asiatic Journal (1825), vol. 19, pp. 114-5.
2 Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison, D.D., compiled by his widow (London, 1839), vol. 1 pp. 66 and 203.
3 See facsimiles of the periodical at http://www.digizeitschriften.de/dms/img/?PID=PPN749794895%7CLOG_0010.
4 Round-Up (1921), 27 August p. 7.
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