I just started my work on the William Warder Cadbury papers, and in order to be able to work with the collection effectively I have been taking some time to do background reading on Cadbury’s work in Canton. William Cadbury spent around forty years in Canton as a medical missionary chiefly working at Lingnan University and at the Boji (Pok Sai in Cantonese) hospital there. To celebrate that institution’s centennial, Cadbury along with Mary Hoxie Jones wrote a book entitled At the Point of a Lancet: One Hundred Years of the Canton Hospital 1835-1935. This book is a valuable insight into one of the most interesting eras in Chinese history. For better or for worse (the Chinese refer to these years as the 100 years of humiliation), the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century were some of the most transformative in Chinese history. No social, economic, or political institutions was left untouched by the changes wrought through western influence in China, and the Canton hospital played an essential role in this process.
The Canton Hospital was founded in 1835 by a young missionary named Peter Parker. After being bitten by a radioactive spider,  Parker travelled to China in 1834 to preach the gospel.
Parker believed that by serving the medical needs of the Chinese people he would be able to minister to their spiritual ones as well. At this time, Westerners were believed to be “foreign devils” （番鬼）and “barbarians” （夷）；their movements were strictly limited by the government. Parker and the other physicians and surgeons who would follow after him would help to change this impression, if only by degrees. The early Canton hospital treated patients free of charge and was enormously effective especially in treating patients who required surgery, an art almost unheard of in China. The young Dr. Parker saw as many as 600 patients a day and performed countless operations, crediting God for his skill and refusing rewards or payments. His efforts were enormously effective, and the hospital grew spreading goodwill as well as the gospel among a population initially resistant to the “barbarian” faith. No less a historian than Jonathan Spence wrote that, “it was the medical missionaries who had the greatest early success in gaining converts.” Dr. Cadbury agreed with Spence (60 years before Spence too) quoting another source wrote that Dr. Parker, “opened the gates of China at the point of a lancet when the European cannon could not open it a single bar.”
Cadbury writes with a reverential and admiring about Dr. Parker’s work. He clearly admired Dr. Parker and his dream of conversion not through coercion but through living life as a testament to God. Charity and good works were at the center of both of these men’s vision of Christian mission work. Cadbury helped to carry on Dr. Parker’s dream as he help steward the hospital through two revolutions, warlord rule, and Japanese occupation. I’m looking forward to delving further in to Cadbury’s time at the hospital and learning more.
 This is wholly untrue.
 Cadbury, 47