Name: Chinese Pass, 1852.
Location: Wisconsin Historical Society Archives – Main Stacks (Reading Room) File 1852 May MAD 4 /14/File 1852 May.
Summary: Chinese pass to the American ship Far West, William A. Briard, commander, Canton, China, May 1852, written in Chinese.
Notes: Presented June, 1868.
Comments: This 39-page Chinese-language document is a journal kept by a Christian evangelist, Chen Dui (陳兑), detailing his daily activities in Hong Kong for a few months in 1852, when he travelled around the colony, seeking converts and distributing Bibles and religious tracts. In his journal, he notes a private house used for public worship services and evening Bible studies. He records how he approached Chinese men, and preached at pharmacies, groceries, fish mongers and amongst fishing vessels. He mentions that many listened eagerly, and records the clans of those who accepted Christ and agreed to attend Church. Women appear to have been approached by other women and usually worshipped indoors.
These biographical details and their chronological format, together with the explicit tallies of attendances and literature distributed, suggest that this journal was a report to the missionary society, who sponsored him. My best suggestion is that that society was the London Missionary Society.
How this document was possibly handed into the possession of Captain William Augustus Briard from one of his Chinese passengers boarding the Far West is not known for sure, but he obviously could not read it, and never bothered to have it translated. However, it is quite likely that the author was one of the passengers on that voyage to San Francisco.