2009年8月31日 星期一


淡水公會堂 or Danshui Public Meeting Hall was somewhat of a mystery to the locals, possibly because this building was used exclusively by the elite, mostly Japanese, during the early Japanese colonial era. It was not a true "public" forum until perhaps the early 1940s when the Pacific War raged on and local supports were needed.

According to the history of Tam-Kang High School [see http://dns.tksh.tpc.edu.tw/historyhouse/p-6-11.htm]:

"...淡水稅關長成為淡水層級最高的官員,加上官署的優越位置和行政資源。淡水稅關長成為淡水官方儀式,節慶、文化活動的中心。稅關官員組了「五十會俱樂部」和 地方官員、台銀和日本商社社員、地方士紳,主催了日治時代早期淡水的社會文化活動,如「淡水俱樂部」的組成、公會堂 ( 今文化中心 ) 和淡水海水浴場的建設等,甚至全台第一的台灣高爾夫球場,就是透過稅關和臺灣銀行社員穿針引線,而在淡水設立的。此時,埔頂的稅關舊官邸,自然就是淡水最浪漫的賓館了。" [Note: The residence of the chief of the Customs Office was across the street from the high school.]

The principal sponsors for the Meeting Hall were then the Chief of the Customs Office and the General Manager of the Bank of Taiwan (Danshui Branch) with the co-sponsorship of the Japanese officials and merchants, and the local gentry. The picture above shows 淡水公會堂 (both the Japanese and the western structures) which was managed by an older Japanese lady from 廣島. Its address was 台北州淡水街砲台埔 No 38.

Not seen in the picture, lateral to the western meeting hall were two shrines, 淡水稻荷社 and 淡水社 [砲台埔 No 28]. And according to this site:

"...根據昭和18 (1943) 年由臺灣總督府社會課編印的「臺灣に於ける神社及宗教」的記載,日治時期於台北州淡水郡淡水街淡水字砲臺埔二八番地ノ一建有「淡水稻荷社」[明治39 (1906) 年11月15日鎮座,社,祭神為倉稻魂命、猿田彥命、大宮女命,例祭日為每年的3月10日及10月10日],但該社現址不詳..."

淡水社, established in 1911, was smaller in size but higher in rank than 淡水稻荷社. It was the predecessor to 淡水神社 (dedicated in 1939).

According to another site: ''... 公會堂是淡水最早的「文化中心」,它是由淡水稅關日本官吏的「五十會俱樂部」以及日商「在淡水商船會社俱樂部」共組成俱樂部後,為推動文化休閒所建的活動場所。於1909年4月完工使用,提供了聯誼、進修、撞球、棋藝、食事、圖書新聞閱覽和藝文活動的場所。是淡水最著名的賞景點,昔日不少風景照和畫作都得以此。可惜戰後荒廢倒塌,改建今日文化大樓時居然面壁背著「山光水色」。"

The general activities were indeed culturally oriented. However, the opening date of the building was put at April, 1909, close to that of the 淡水稻荷社 (1906), but very different from the ones listed in the Danshui town history:
1918: 興建淡水公會堂 (即今淡水文化大樓所在地)。
1928: 八月一日,淡水公會堂落成。

Most likely, the construction had been on and off or in different stages; in fact the two buildings were quite different in both style and construction.

In any case, the meeting hall did host art exhibitions, for example:
1933: 11月3日,春陽會會員山崎省三個展於淡水公會堂。
1934: 1月13-15日,淡水趣味會木下靜涯等三人主辦,昭和新報分社後援,盆栽展覽會於淡水公會堂。

Also, the chief Shindo priest of 淡水神社 was 小笠原清禧. One of the main benefactors of the 神社 was 三卷俊夫. One of the principals of 滬尾公學校 was 小竹德吉. And the mayors of Danshui淡水街街長 included 多田榮吉, 鳥井勝治, 中原薰, and 小副川猛. These are the few known Japanese names associated with Danshui around that period.

And what had happened to the two buildings? By the 1950s, the western-style meeting hall was left with only an empty shell, 4 walls with a collapsed steel beam, and the other building had also disappeared. Some locals recall the destruction of the meeting hall by fire (not from neglect and disuse as described in one of the quotes above). This site is now occupied by 淡水文化大樓; both 稻荷社 and 淡水社 were long gone.

Anyone out there who knows more about 淡水公會堂,
淡水稻荷社, or 淡水社, please leave your comments.

Here is more, from a long-time Danshui resident: After 1949,
淡水公會堂 was turned into a rooming house for the Air Force personnel and their families. The seaplane port, or more accurately the weather station at the airport was run by this group. 公會堂 was indeed burned down in the 50s (cause unknown). And the families were relocated to Taipei. However, both 淡水稻荷社 and 淡水社 had already disappeared by that time. Most likely both of which, as fundamental religious sites of Japan, were demolished in 1945 or soon after.

2009年8月30日 星期日

Another battle scene

點石齋畫報 (left), a news pictorial first published in Shanghai in 1884, reported the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf with a drawing detailing the defense setup of Danshui. This reproduction (below) is a bit fuzzy; nonetheless, the heavy reinforcement at the mouth of the Danshui River still can be clearly seen. It shows several rows of boats or ships blocking the entry into Danshui River, far more complicated than the "Barrage" line on the French map shown at the beginning of this blog. We already know there were 10 mines strung across the River - this alone would have been too simplistic for a defense. Indeed the Qing military knew exactly what they were doing. It would not have been possible for the French fleet to blast their way through, hence the landing of the 600 fusiliers marins on the beaches at Fisherman's Wharf on Oct 8, 1884. The French marched into an area dense with 林投 trees and 黃槿 bushes, both quite thorny, and the progress further slowed by rifle shots from the well-hidden Qing infantrymen. Most locals even now are still surprised that the French had picked this area to do battle. The same vegetations are still there toady.

On shore, there are also locations of the gun batteries and military camps complete with other landmarks. In the Danshui Harbor, two large ships were trapped, one the British gunboat Cockchafer and the other the No 13 Qing transport ship (the 萬年清號). The French fleet is shown on the left ready to pounce.

2009年8月28日 星期五

Bricks of Danshui

[An 1899 map of northern Taiwan detailing all towns, big and small, located between Danshui and Keelung; click to enlarge.]

The navigational difficulty of Danshui River and Harbor owing to the sandy deposits has a long history. The following is quoted from Colquhoun, A.R., and J.H. Stewart-Lockhart. "A sketch of Formosa." The China Review (1885): 161-207:

"The harbour [left: an 1893 French map of Danshui Harbor, click to enlarge] is really formed by the debouchure of numerous streams rising in the mountains in various directions, and at distances varying from twenty to seventy miles from the mouth. The main branch comes from the south-east, but another important one rises in the north-east, in the immediate neighbourhood of Keelung, a few miles to the south, on the southern side of a hill-pass, the upper reaches being covered with fierce rapids. These streams flow towards Mêngka, called also Bangka or Banca, where they form a junction, some fifteen miles from the sea, into which they empty themselves. Large quantities of silt are brought down by the river, especially when swollen by heavy rains, the result being a troublesome bank in the middle of the river, and the narrow bar at the entrance, on which the sea at times breaks with great violence. A dangerous surf rises with a fresh breeze, and vessels cannot count on entering, or once within, on leaving the port. In fine weather and at high tide, coasting steamers of small draught can enter, but vessels of any considerable draught do not venture in, on account of the insufficient depth, and the surf-swell. The anchorage has shifted from the southern side, where it was within the memory of native residents, to the northern bank. This has been generally attributed to the wholesale deposit of ballast from junks in the river, never interfered with by the Chinese officials."

Apparently the authors did not realize the "wholesale deposit of ballast..." was in fact a defense against the French fleet consisting of stone-laden ships sunken on order of Liu Ming Ch'uan and later reinforced by Sun Kai-Hua.

The "ballast from junks" was actually red bricks used to stabilize small transport ships sailing across the often stormy Taiwan Strait from China. The bricks were a valuable commodity not to be discarded haphazardly as implicated in the above quote. Once arriving in Danshui, the bricks were sold locally. Many houses in Danshui were constructed with these ballast bricks and some still can be seen today. They are not to be confused with the bricks for the famed Fort San Domingo. The latter were of a different constitution; the Dutch had them shipped in from Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia).

And of course, in later days, bricks were produced in Taiwan by 台灣煉瓦株式會社 (Taiwan Renga Co) and 撒木耳煉瓦會社 (Samuel and Samuel Co) - the bricks were marked with TR and S (or reversed S), respectively.

Danshui Presbyterian Church, on the other hand, was built with
30,000 "high-quality" bricks imported from Amoy, possibly the same type of bricks used previously in the construction of the villa of oil tycoon 黃東茂. The 黃 residence was located in the area marked "Maisons européennes" in the lower right corner of the French map (see above). The "Europeans" refers to John Dodd and Dr Mackay's missionary colleagues. This area was vacated for the construction of the tiny seaplane airport in 1939. This international airport was bombed on Oct 12, 1944, by the Americans, three years after it opened for business.

黃東茂, nicknamed 五舍 (for 五少爺) was one of the three most wealthy locals of his time (the other two: 許丙 and 洪以南). Only they could afford to join the Danshui Golf Club.

2009年8月26日 星期三

大江大海 by Lung Ying-Tai

This book, published today (Aug 26), is subtitled "1949". It actually also covers a forgotten period of 1944/5-1949 in Taiwan history. It is a must-read for those interested in the modern history of this Treasured Island. For more details, see http://blog.udn.com/our1949/3242466

2009年8月25日 星期二

Danshui Presbyterian Church

For those who have never been to Danshui, a virtual tour of the Presbyterian Church and the Mackay Clinic is available here:

The many steps leading up to the main hall were (probably still are) pretty forbidding to little kids who could of course choose to stay on the ground level and attend outdoor Sunday School instead.

In the main hall, there is this famous Yamaha organ from 1909, preserved in the church when it was re-built in 1932. Also, the original bell is now on the ground of the kindergarten. In its heyday, tolling of the bell could be heard all the way across the river in Bali. See here for more details.

And the construction history of the two buildings:

Master 洪泉"司" (洪仔泉) worked with Dr Mackay and built the Mackay Clinic in 1879 (洪 later also built the Oxford College and the old Mackay Residence).

The Church was designed by Dr Mackay's son 偕叡廉 and built in 1932 by Master 樹"司", i.e., 黃阿樹, son-in-law of 洪仔泉.

樹司 had also constructed several buildings in Tamkang High School and Tamsui Girls' High, e.g., the 姑娘樓, 八角塔, and 體育館. And the designers of these buildings also included Rev 吳威廉 (William Gauld, a mathematician) and Rev 羅虔益 (Kenneth W. Dowie, an engineer). Many who had worked with the 洪 father- and son-in-law team later became successful builders and contractors themselves.

2009年8月22日 星期六

Faces from the past

These are faces from the past, collected by WA Pickering (1840-1907) in Pioneering in Formosa, Hurst & Blackett, London, 1898, a book read by many. This and other antique books on Taiwan are now available free online (click on the link and search for "formosa" or "sino-french war").
Above: captioned as a Hoklo man [福佬人] in Pickering's book; although this gentleman looks more like a Hakka Hillman, the headgear and breastplate are a tip-off. Hoklo men wore only pre-fashioned hats if at all. It is unclear whether he was holding a rod, pipe or an arrow. On the point of the arrow: it is often erroneously assumed that the Aborigines in Taiwan hunted with bow and arrow. They were actually avid users of firearms acquired from each generation of traders.

Aborigines of northern Taiwan [of an un-identified tribe] [北台灣山地人]

A group of Pinpuhuan [平埔番] and Chinese [Hoklo]

Pinpuhuan [in Han attire]

These are indeed precious images. Pickering's description of Danshui, on the other hand, was surprisingly ordinary, given so much was already known by the late 1890s. Excerpts here:

"Pursuing our course northwards up the western coast, we now reach the port of Tamsui, or 'Fresh-water-town.' This port would seem to have a better future before it, as it has a more accessible harbour, and therefore greater facilities for trade. The anchorage, however, is insecure, being formed of shifting sand. The town lies between a double-peaked hill on the south-west [觀音山], which has an elevation of about 1,700 feet, and the Tamsui range of mountains [大屯山], which rise to the height of 2,800 feet and extend far into the interior.

A small river [淡水河], issuing from a gorge, empties itself into the harbour. This river has its source near the city of Bangkah or Mangkia, one of the largest and most exclusive of the northern towns of the island. Upon a hill on the right bank of the Tamsui River there is an old Dutch fort [紅毛城], part of which is now used as a consular residence, of which one can find no European account, and which itself bears no inscription of record of the past. It is in a fair state of preservation, though damp and deserted, and said by the natives to be haunted. It serves as a guide to the entrance to the harbour.

The rainfall is heavy in Tamsui and the whole of northern Formosa, thus rendering the air cold and humid."

And a little about Pickering himself (from the beginning of Chapter One):

"In the year 1862 I was third mate on a Liverpool tea clipper lying off Pagoda Island, in the river Min, some nine miles below the City of Foochow. I was twenty-two years of age, and I had been on the sea since the year 1856, when my indentures were signed, and I, a shivering lad, was handed over to work out a four years' apprenticeship on board one of the old Blackwall East Indiamen..."

After Taiwan/China, in 1872, Pickering was invited to Singapore, largely because he could speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and Hokkien [plus three other different dialects]. He was needed to control the problems posed by the secret Chinese societies and was able to do so by earning the trust of the local Chinese. In 1877, he was appointed the first Protector of the Chinese Protectorate. However, in 1887, he was attacked and severely wounded by an assassin sent by the Ghee Hok [義和] Society, a Teochew潮州 carpenter named Chua Ah-Siok [蔡阿俗?], but had survived. The injuries forced him to retire in 1889 and he died eight years later. Pickering Street near Singapore's Chinatown Point [not Chinatown itself] is named after him.

2009年8月20日 星期四

The 浮線 revisited

An oil painting of Danshui by 陳澄波 (1895-1947), ca 1935. The delta浮線 is clearly seen - with Guanyin Mountain in the far background. It seems to be looking at 九崁仔街 from the top of the old 淡水公會堂.

2009年8月17日 星期一

French gunboats

Small and nimble, the two very busy French gunboats (i.e., les cannonières) (465 tons each), la Vipère and le Lutin are shown below. Both ships participated actively in the attack and later the blockade of Danshui. La Vipère in particular covered the retreat of French fusiliers marins from the beachhead of Fisherman's Wharf - by firing directly into the pursuing Qing soldiers.

Above: La Vipère with its guns in action

Le Lutin

2009年8月14日 星期五

Histoire du Bayard 艦史

Summary (translated and edited from a French post quoted below)

The ironclad Le Bayard, flagship of Adm Courbet (left), was built in Brest based on the design of Sabattier et Lebelin de Dionne, starting on Sept 19, 1876. It was launched in March, 1880, and commissioned on Nov 21, 1882. On March 31, 1883, Adm Courbet took command and in June, it sailed for Indochina.

As the command center, it played a major role in the Sino-French war, and of course participated in the campaigns against Keelung, Danshui, Shipu, the Pescardores, and the blockade of Taiwan among other affairs.

On June 11, 1885, Adm Courbet died on board the Bayard. The last mission of the ship was to ferry Courbet's body back home to France (some photos below captured its passage through Port Saïd of the Suez Canal and the last one, Courbet's casket in the ship's chapel)

The Bayard was de-commissioned in Toulon in Aug, 1885, and scrapped and sold in 1899.

More details - basé sur http://jose.chapalain.free.fr/pageprin147.htm [specs highlighted in blue and major events in red]:

Le "Bayard", cuirassé de croisière construction composite sur les plans de Sabattier et Lebelin de Dionne, Brest 1876-1880 1904,

Mise en chantier le 19/09/1876 à Brest

Lancement en 03/1880

Armement le 21/11/1882

[尺寸] Longueur 84.3/81.6 m, largeur 17.45 m, creux 10.7 m, tirant d'eau 7.80 m AR

[吃水] 5986 T, 850-1100 ch,

[引擎] 2 machines compound à 3 cylindres verticaux, 2 hélices, 14.5 nd (13 nd en service), rayon d"action 3600 miles

[武裝] Armement : 4 pièces de 24 cm en 4 tourelles barbettes (modèle 1875), 6 pièces de 14 cm en entrepont non blindé, 1 pièce de 16.4 cm à l'avant, 6 pièces de 65 mm

[裝甲] Protection : ceinture 250/180 mm, tourelles 200 mm, pont 50 mm,

[載重] Poids 1460 tonnes

[人員] effectif 450 hommes

Novembre 1882 : reçoit son premier armement à Brest

Mai 1883 : le CV Parrayon en prend le commandement

31 mai 1883 l'Amiral Courbet met sa marque sur le Bayard, bâtiment-amiral de la division d'essais

Juin 1883 : le navire est envoyé en Indochine. Il arrive en baie d'Along le 10 juillet ou il est rejoint par les cuirassés Atalante et Triomphante et le croiseur Duguay-Trouin. La division navale du Tonkin est formée avec le Bayard navire-amiral.

Août 1883 : il bombarde la rivière de Hué puis les compagnies débarquent

8 octobre 1883 : il est dans la baie d'Along et participe au blocus de l'Annam

Octobre 1883 à février 1884 : L'amiral Courbet quitte le Bayard pour l'opération de Sontay

2 juillet 1884 : le Bayard est en baie d'Along et participe au blocus des côtes

Juillet 1884 : L'Amiral Courbet sur le Bayard devient commandant en chef des divisions navales du Tonkin et de Chine

Septembre 1884 à mai 1885 : le Bayard est engagé à Keelung, Tamsui, au blocus de Formose

Février 1885 : il participe à l'affaire de Shei-Poo [石浦之役]

3 juin 1885 : le navire participe au blocus deu rizet à la prise des Pescadores

11 juin 1885 : l'Amiral Courbet meurt à bord du Bayard

Aout 1885 : le Bayard rentre à Toulon et est désarmé

1899 : il est transformé en ponton puis vendu.

fait partie de l'escadre Courbet de 1883 à 1885, l'Amiral Courbet mouru à son bord

merci à Loic CHALM pour les 2 photos qui suivent [note: a contributor to the original post sent the following two photos]

Merci à Laurence Bellanger pour les 5 photos ci-après prises par Adrien Bellanger alors en poste à Port Saïd, lors du décès de l'Amiral Courbet. Le vaisseau ramène en France le corps de l'Amiral. Les mats sont croisés, en berne. Le vaisseau passe le canal puis entame son retour vers la France avec le corps de l'Amiral [note: a contributor to the original post sent the following 5 photos]

Le Bayard à Port Saïd

idem Le Bayard à Port Saïd

le retour en France

idem le retour en France

la chapelle ardente de l'Amiral Courbet sur le Bayard lors du retour en France [Bayard 艦上孤拔將軍靈堂]

2009年8月11日 星期二

孫道仁 - the eldest son of 孫開華提督

(This is a photo of Gen Sun Daw-Ren [l] and Dr Sun Yat-Sen taken on Apr 22, 1912, in Foochow.)
(1912年, 孫中山先生與福建都督孫道仁合影 - 歷史背景是孫中山辭去臨時大總統之職,乘坐“聯鯨”號軍艦回廣東,應邀中途轉至福建,4月22日到達福州,與福建都督府、政務院、軍界人員合影。)

The eldest son of 孫開華提督Gen Sun Kai-Hua, 孫道仁Sun Daw-Ren (born 1865), also participated in the Sino-French war. Not only in the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf itself, during the French blockade, Sun Daw-Ren also operated from Fujian, secretly hired junks, hid weapons on board, and shipped them to Taiwan to re-supply the Qing army. Liu Ming Ch'uan later officially appointed him to be in charge of the military logistics.

After the war, the young Sun went to Beijing to take/pass the royal exams and entered the officialdom - until 1893 when his father died. He dutifully followed the Chinese custom and buried his father in their hometown in Hunan. After the mourning period ended (100 days), Sun Daw-Ren re-entered the military service and had risen eventually to 福建提督.

Sun was somewhat reluctant in getting involved in the founding of the new republic (Rep of China) (in the 1911 revolution) but later served under President Li Yuan-Hong in various capacities. After Li's second and final resignation in 1923, Sun retired to Gulangyu and became a high-ranking adviser to the Fujian Provincial Government. He later moved to Amoy to be with his daughter and son-in-law. He died a lieutenant general of the Army of the Republic in 1935, at age 70.

A selectively quoted bio of Sun Daw-Ren is shown below (the accomplishment of Sun Kai-Hua was also acknowledged in Sun Daw-Ren's autobiography 退庵紀事):

"孫道仁(1865-1935)字退庵,號靜珊。一作靜山。湖南省張家界市慈利縣人。蔭生出身。孫道仁幼年隨父親在福建讀書,喜習武藝。清光緒十年(1884 )他跟隨其父晚清福建陸路提督孫開華參加台灣中法戰爭,孫開華以署福建陸路提督職,負責台北海防。法軍封鎖台灣時,孫道仁密僱帆船,把彈藥藏在艙底,渡海秘密接濟台灣守軍,台灣巡撫劉銘傳因而委其在前敵營務處任職,後保加四品銜。被委為前敵營務處,中法戰爭結束後,孫道仁赴北京應試,任京府通判,分發順天補官。光緒十六年(1890年),安置在頤和園海軍水操內學堂任辦事官。光緒十七年(1891年),熱河發生金丹道農民起義,清政府調集軍隊鎮壓。孫道仁奉命擔任運餉事務,往返於朝陽、赤峰、熱河等處,後得賞三品銜以知府分發福建補用。不久升為道員,仍留福建補官。光緒十九年,其父去世,回籍守制。"

"[In 1911] 武昌起義各省革命迅速開展。當時,孫道仁尚持觀望態度。後迫於形勢,由彭壽松介紹,加入中國同盟會。"

"民國5年(1916年) 6月袁世凱死後,黎元洪繼任大總統。民國6年,孫道仁受命擔任北京政府總統高等顧問。不久,黎元洪下台,孫道仁去職。民國11年 6月,黎元洪復任總統,7月,委任孫道仁為永威將軍,前往甘肅、新疆查禁鴉片。次年回北京,適逢黎元洪再次退位,1923年孫道仁失去依靠,告老回籍。晚年的孫道仁,應聘為福建省政府高等顧問,寓居鼓浪嶼。應女兒、女婿邀請,居住廈門養老,不久在廈門病逝。"

Sun Daw-Ren's own mother passed away three months before his father. According to later reports, Gen Sun Kai-Hua's 8 other surviving wives and even more family members, rumored to be neglected by Daw-Ren, became destitute (or worse).

2009年8月8日 星期六


[Left: a postcard of Danshui Harbor from 1930 when shipping was still unhindered by the shifting sands.]

Immediately after defeating the French at the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf, 孫開華提督General Sun Kai-Hua had taken ill from drinking too fast and too much cold tea back at the camp. After much search, a young physician of Bac-dau-a by the name of 鄭木筆 was invited to treat Gen Sun and Sun was in fact quickly cured. Dr 鄭, affectionately addressed by his patients as 木筆先 (Vo' Bi' Sen), subsequently became a most renowned doctor of northern Taiwan.

[Source: 張建隆,<八月二十西仔反>,《金色淡水》20期,1994.10.15]:


A mere 10 years after the Sino-French war, in 1895, China ceded Taiwan to Japan's colonial rule. Following the lesson learned from the French, the Japanese invading force landed near Keelung, not Danshui. Gen Sun孫開華, however, did not live long enough to see this happen having already passed away in 1893. The Japanese rule was to last until Aug 14, 1945. This occupation proved costly to the 鄭Cheng family. A member of the next generation, 鄭子昌醫師 (EyeDoc's father), together with 341 other Taiwanese physicians, medics, and medical assistants were drafted and sent to serve in the Pacific War; 247, including the young Dr 鄭, perished in French Indochina on Jan 12, 1945 (see here for details).

2009年8月7日 星期五

Mackay's first house in Danshui

On March 9, 1872, Dr George Leslie Mackay arrived in Danshui (left - the landing site; time of landing: 3PM). His first residence arranged by John Dodd, now 24 Mackay St (lower right - in the the far background is the bell tower of the Presbyterian Church), was described as:

"The only available house [that] had been built for a stable into the side of a hill with the [Danshui] river in front, and for this $15 a month was charged. Two pine boxes with their contents constituted his entire outfit. A chair and bed were loaned by the British Consul, and a pewter lamp was presented by the friendly Chinese. The house was whitewashed, and the walls were decorated with newspapers. Then he settled down to work with the consciousness that, as recorded in his diary, he had been led thither by the Master as directly as if his boxes had been checked for Tamsui."

And during the Sino-French war in 1884:

"The invasion of Formosa by the French was the occasion of much suffering and loss to the mission. Chinese hatred of all foreigners immediately asserted itself, and the missionary and his converts were in the public mind associated with the French invaders."

Many churches were destroyed and many converts slain. Mackay later filed a claim for the property losses and received a compensation of 10,000 Mexican silver dollars from Governor Liu Ming Ch'uan. With the sum, he built three magnificent stone churches in 艋舺, 新店, and 錫口 (now 松山) [Note: the original text was Sek-Khan which should have been Sek-Khau, the Hoklo pronunciation of 錫口].

After the French blockade of Taiwan was lifted in April, 1885, Mackay returned from Hongkong and went on an inspection tour of the churches that he had built in the eastern part of Taiwan. And the unexpected encounter with the French in Keelung:

"There were 8,000 French soldiers at Kelung, and they were harassed by twice as many Chinese troops who were drilled by German officers. The French mistaking him for a German spy, he and his [two] companions narrowly escaped being shot. The soldiers blindfolded them, led them through the lines and sent them on board a man-of-war. As soon as he was identified, courteous treatment was extended, and the next morning they were set at liberty."

The French evacuated from Keelung two months later.

Today, 81.3% of the total population in Taiwan admit to having a religious belief. The vast majority, 68.1%, are Buddhists or Taoists. And less than 4% are Christians. The missionary work has started in the 16th and 17th Century by the Spaniards and the Dutch, respectively, and has continued by others even to this day. Strictly speaking, Dr Mackay had not been able to achieve a large-scale conversion as he had set out to do. On the other hand, a long tradition of the Presbyterian faith has been firmly established. And along with preaching, Mackay had introduced medicine/dentistry, education of women, and structured higher education into the northern part of Taiwan. His personal adventures are no less inspiring. As he, many from Danshui have also traveled to foreign lands, worked feverishly towards a set goal, settled down, and contributed to their adopted homelands despite covert or overt discrimination. Perhaps this is all a common human experience and its paths only governed by fate.

[Quotes above, highlighted in blue, verbatim from: Effective workers in needy fields, by WF McDowell et al, Student volunteer movement for foreign missions, NY, 1902]

2009年8月3日 星期一

The battle scene

A Chinese brush painting depicting and describing the defeat of the French in the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf (artist and date are both unknown). Danshui (aka Tamsui and Hobe) is located on the upper right along the coastal area. A small observation post is on the left. The tall trees can only be the pines near the Hobe Gun Battery.

In the foreground of this picture, three (out of a total of five) battalions of French fusiliers marins in formation faced a line of Qing defenders several men deep. The involvement of horsemen on both sides also is clearly seen. Firing by volleys by the French during retreat was the main reason why so many advancing Qing infantrymen were injured or killed (more than 200 casualties).