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Hampden Coit Dubose

1845 ~ 1910

A native of South Carolina and a graduate of Columbia (South Carolina) Theological Seminary, Dubose arrived in China with his wife, Pauline (McAlpine), in 1872 and settled in Suzhou (Soochow), a city of gardens and canals. He served there 38 years until his death. Although an eloquent preacher to non-Christian audiences, he is best remembered as the founder of the Anti-Opium League.

The league sought to publish facts about the curse of opium and mobilize public opinion against its trade. To this end Dubose enlisted the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Congress, and the International Opium Commission. Success came in 1906 when the British Parliament declared the trade "morally indefensible." A petition signed by over a thousand China missionaries was presented to the emperor. An imperial edict, following verbatim the petition Dubose had drafted, prohibited its trade and use. He was honored in Suzhou by the erection of a stone tablet and in the United States by being elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Southern) in 1891.

About the Author

By G. Thompson Brown

Emeritus Professor of Missions and World Christianity, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, USA

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