Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hirschberg, Henry Julius (1847-1853)

updated September 28, 2013

Name variations: Henri Julius Hirschberg. b.1814, Inowroclaw (Hohensalza), Poland - d. July 16, 1874 at Paignton, Devonshire. University of Berlin. MRCS (Lond.). Missionary, LMS. Hong Kong July 27, 1847 [1]. Private hospital, London Medical Missionary Society Hospital, physician 1847; Director (vice Benjamin Hobson) 1848-49, resigned [2]. Amoy 1853, Medical Director, LMSoc. Mission. Retired, England due to ill health 1858.

Christian, Jewish convert.
m. Mary White of Merton, Surrey, 1851.

[The London Missionary Hospital was burnt down in December 1851 in a great fire which destroyed the Lower Bazaar. In a matter of months following the fire, Hirschberg was able to collect sufficient funding through contributions from the Chinese community in Hong Kong for the rebuilding of the missionary hospital. According to the book, “Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong", it was the first instance in Hong Kong of the general Chinese population supporting a missionary enterprise. The  largest contribution came from Wai Kwong 韋光, compradore of ship chandlery Bowra and Company and later of the Mercantile Bank of India, London and China.]

[1] Hirschberg left England with Benjamin Hobson and his wife on March 11, 1847. Hobson was to take charge of the LMSoc. hospital in Hong Kong.

[2] Hirschberg resigned because of his opposition to the opium trade. Most of the members of the Medical Missionary Society in China 中國博醫會 which acted as patron and provided financial support to Hirschberg's enterprise were opium dealers. Ironically, however, two of Hirschberg's most keen supporters in his 1852 fundraiser, Lo Aqui 盧亞貴 and Fung Attai 馮亞蒂, were both known opium dealers. They were in fact the first Chinese holder of the opium monopoly in Hong Kong, back in 1845.

Selected bibliography: Choa, G.H., Heal the Sick was Their Moto: the Protestant Medical Missionaries in China, Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1990, p.167. Memorials of Protestant Missionaries to the Chinese, Shanghai, American Presbyterian Mission Press, 1867, p.125, 155. Ricci Roundtable › Biographies [internet]. Smith, Carl T., Chinese Christians Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, 2005, p.66, 178.


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